What Is Open Source Government?

 

Introduction

Open Source Government (OSG) is a scientific theory that explains how to manage a society without the use of centralized coercion. 

The core concept in OSG is the term property, which is non-ambiguously and operationally defined therein.  Using that as a foundation, OSG then explains how to achieve conditions such as “freedom,” “justice,” how to reduce “crime,” how to attenuate “coercion,” and so on, all without a central authority.  These terms (and some others) are also non-ambiguously and operationally defined within OSG. 

Today, there is a global effort to decentralize society through the blockchain, Ethereum (et al).  But it is not possible to do so unless those efforts also employ OSG algorithms. 

OSG was created by Chas Holloway and is fully explained in a series of three books, the first of which was published in May, 2017.

Book One:   The End the Fall of the Political Class explains the fundamentals of OSG theory.  It was published in May, 2017. 

Book Two:    Breakout: Technology Vs. the Nation State explains the application of OSG theory.  It will be published in late 2017.

Book Three:   Firestorm: Igniting the IP Revolution explains the nature and management of intellectual property using blockchain technology.  It will be published in late 2018.

Below is a series of descriptions to give you an idea of what Open Source Government is and what it does.

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What Is Open Source Government?

Non-Technical Explanation No. 1

Open Source Government is about technology rising and replacing traditional social systems, especially corporate and political ones. 

You’ve probably heard of Bitcoin.  It’s a new kind of internet-based money that’s not controlled by any government or bank.  Instead, it’s based on a mathematical technology called the “blockchain,” which is a way of automatically keeping encrypted and secure accounting records.  Because no one controls it, Bitcoin is theoretically superior to government issued money.  It’s private.  It can’t be taxed.  It can’t be inflated. 

Many other things can be built using blockchain technology, too.  On the Ethereum platform, it’s even possible entire “autonomous companies" can be built.  This powerful new technology is going to restructure the entire internet in profound ways, and reorganize society-at-large, as well.  Blockchain technology is so innovative and revolutionary, corporations and governments are already looking for ways to harness and control it. 

 

Vladimir Putin Exerts Friendly Influence On  Vitalek Buterin, the Inventor of Ethereum, at a Financial Conference, June 5, 2017. In Addition, the Chinese Government Officials Announced, "Ethereum Is Moving In the Right Direction" (Trustnodes.Com, June 6, 2017).

Vladimir Putin Exerts Friendly Influence On  Vitalek Buterin, the Inventor of Ethereum, at a Financial Conference, June 5, 2017. In Addition, the Chinese Government Officials Announced, "Ethereum Is Moving In the Right Direction" (Trustnodes.Com, June 6, 2017).

Open Source Government (OSG) is the technology needed to keep blockchain technology from becoming centralized and controlled by political states or by powerful corporations.  Central control of large social systems is what causes many of our current social problems, so OSG explains how to successfully decentralize social systems and keep them decentralized. 

The End: The Fall of the Political Class is the first book in the Open Source Government Series.  It explains OSG theory, and describes the algorithms developers need to ensure perpetual decentralization.  (Book Two, which will be published in Q1 or Q2, 2017, will be all about application.)

If you’re interested in learning how the world is already being fundamentally transformed, how these sweeping social change will affect you, how the next two decades will bring about the most profound reconstruction of society in human history, read Chas Holloway’s The End: The Fall of the Political Class

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What Is Open Source Government?

Non-Technical Explanation No. 2

There are only two ways human society can be organized.  The first is through hierarchies.  The second is through networks.  Both hierarchies and networks have been with us since the beginning of our species. They are both primal and will continue to always be with us.  But hierarchies and networks each have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Hierarchies are all about top-down control.  The idea of a hierarchy is that one guy, the President or CEO, sits at the top of it and drives the whole organization like it’s a monster truck.  He gives orders to people on the level below him, they give orders to people on the levels below them, and so on, all the way down to the janitor.

Anybody who has worked in a big organization knows that, while the whole purpose of a hierarchy is central control, they can also be massively inefficient.  The top doesn’t really control the bottom.  The bottom doesn’t understand the top.  The whole system has intrinsic information-flow inefficiencies.

Networks, on the other hand, don’t have a top.  Instead, the participants in a net encounter each other, negotiate over how they’re going to exchange something, complete their exchange, then move on to encounter someone else and repeat the process.  Every time people intersect and negotiate like this, they create a tiny bit of control.

Here’s a little-appreciated fact: networks have far more control in them than hierarchies, it’s just distributed.  In hierarchies control comes from the top, but in networks, it’s everywhere

Open Source Government is a set of scientific concepts and tools to harness the power of bother hierarchies and networks.  It is NOT about networks replacing all hierarchies. That would be impossible. Rather, it’s about how to make networks dominant.  Many of societies problems today can be traced back to giant state hierarchies dominating everything else, and corporations using them to gain market advantages.  This problem disappears when practical OSG techniques are used to ensure that networks are the main organizers of society, not hierarchies. 

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What Is Open Source Government?

Short Explanation for Ethereum Developers

How do you stop the emerging Ethereum ecosystem from becoming just another tool of the police state?

Imagine it’s ten years from now.  Crypto-currencies, smart contracts, and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are by then commonplace.  But outside the Ethereum universe, the world is still controlled by political systems.  Cities still pay for roads.  Police still roam streets to control crime.  Countries still need national defense. 

Are DAOs by then collecting taxes for the state?  City, state and national functions have to be paid for, and organizations on the blockchain have to pay their fair share, right?  Are DAOs  imposing “necessary” political rules?

Ethereum is already at risk – at risk of devolving into a new, dangerous tool for central planners.  When developers who launch DAOs make deals with the state to collect taxes and impose regulations, that re-centralizes everything.   

What can the developers of today do to prevent this?  The answer is in Open Source Government.

At the core of OSG is a scientific definition of the term property.  By “scientific,” I mean it is non-ambiguous and operational (able to be technologized).  Using that as a foundation, OSG then explains how to achieve things like “freedom” and “justice,” eliminate “coercion,” and so on.  All these terms (and some others) are non-ambiguously and operationally defined within OSG, as well.  

Using OSG architecture, Ethereum based projects can achieve such strong networks of reciprocity, such a multitude of community services, such a high degree of stability, they can simply out-compete the political state.  No political state has ever been able to build freedom, ensure justice or build a peaceful world, but OSG can.  

Ethereum developers today have the opportunity to build freedom for the first time in history and be the founders of a new kind of civilization.  But unless they know the difference between freedom and coercion, blockchain technology could easily lead to even greater centralized control than we have today. 

Chas Holloway, creator of Open Source Government, explains that OSG algorithms MUST be built into Ethereum-based projects now.  OSG operations are the only thing that can prevent your well-intended blockchain project from eroding into just another political system.

Using scientific epistemology, and in clear, simple language, Holloway explains what “freedom” is, how it differs from centralized control, and how to build it.  His book, The End: The Fall of the Political Class is an intellectually engaging read and contains extremely important and fundamental concepts for Ethereum developers. 

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What Is Open Source Government?

Longer Explanation for Ethereum Developers

Question:

How do you stop the emerging Ethereum ecosystem from becoming just another tool for the police state?

Imagine it’s ten years from now.  Crypto-currencies, smart contracts, and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are by then commonplace.  But outside the Ethereum universe, the world is still controlled by political systems.  Cities still pay for roads.  Police still roam streets to control crime.  Countries still need national defense. 

Are DAOs by then collecting taxes for the state?  City, state and national functions have to be paid for, and organizations on the blockchain have to pay their fair share, right?  Are DAOs imposing “necessary” political rules?

Developers today aren’t thinking that far ahead.  They’re thinking more like anarchist Libertarians: “Anything goes.” “No taxes.”  “Private currency.”  “We will be invisible to the state.”  Some developers think there will be hundreds of DAOs creating all sorts of systems for free.

The problem is, “free” also has a downside.  When things are distributed for free it means there is no financial incentive to produce high quality.  When there is no financial lure, developers have to be motivated by intangible things like the creative impulse or prestige or "the common good."  And that's inefficient. 

Some Ethereum developers even envision a future with no hierarchies, at all.  Only networks of people, where everyone is equal, sharing technology, in pure mutualism.

Pierre Proudhon

Pierre Proudhon

The French philosopher of the 1840s, Pierre Proudhon, advocated a world like that.  He wanted a society in which everybody was exactly the same as everybody else in what he called “dignified poverty.” 

His contemporary, Karl Marx, believed extreme central control was more practical, but Proudhon wanted no hierarchies of any kind.  His philosophy of mutualism is the intellectual source of today’s socialist anarchy movement – a movement that has infected some Ethereum developer’s thinking.

The problem is pure mutualism is impractical.

Ten years from now, what’s more likely to happen is this: companies will create DAOs using open source Ethereum tools and launch them for a profit.  Take, for example, a music publishing platform.  A company provides a DAO on which songwriter, Bob, can post his music for sale.  On the other end of the transaction, Alice buys the song for a token.  A license is recorded on the blockchain.  A percentage of the price goes into Bob’s account.  An encryption key is sent to Alice, allowing her to download the song.  And a small percentage of the purchase price goes to The Company who created the DAO.

Such a DAO requires no management so administration costs are low.  The Company who created it is well-organized because it is making a profit.  And since it wants to continue making a profit, it has a financial incentive to continuously improve its autonomous platform, its user interface, and so on.  

Meanwhile, hobbyists launching music trading platforms are disorganized, have little money and no incentive to make continuous improvements.  So The Company easily out-competes them. 

Thus, ten years from now, it will not be the mutualists, but The Companies that will dominate the market.  They’ll simply out-compete the free stuff.  You can see this happening already. The Wall Street Journal [January 10, 2017] reports the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation is using a blockchain to track payments between big banks.  CEO, Michael Bodson, says, “A lot of people [in the tech community] are talking about how they’re going to make us disappear. But here we are, one of the first users of the [blockchain] technology.”

Traditional, hierarchy-controlled companies will always be the big fish in any economy.  That includes the Ethereum economy.  Furthermore, the STATE will get into the act, too.  Owners of companies running on Ethereum are not going to be invisible.  And the bigger you get, the harder it is to hide -- the state can detect you.

In spite of the anarcho-developer euphoria, Ethereum will NOT be a sneaky way around political systems.  The incantations, “It’s autonomous” “It’s distributed” and “There’s no single point of attack” will quickly be silenced.  Because there ARE attack points: the DAO owners.  If a company can skim a percentage off a DAO’s transactions for a commission, the state can skim for taxes.  All they have to do is put a gun to the DAO owner’s head.   

When this happens, the entire blockchain and Ethereum ecosystem has just become a new tool for the police state.  When Ethereum-based DAOs make deals with politicians to collect taxes and impose regulations, that re-centralizes everything.   Meanwhile, the hobbyists launching DAOs for free simply can’t compete.

Example of Centralization

Example of Centralization

For example, look what’s happening right now to the new, burgeoning marijuana industry.  Desperate to make pot legal, advocates have been shouting “Tax and regulate!”  Like that is some sort of panacea.  And now that politicians know how much money they can make off weed, they’re all for it.  They’re taxing and regulating like crazy.  The result: there is no freedom ion the pot world.  No opportunity for the little guy.  No "level playing field."  The politicians are creating a Soviet-style economy.

Attention Ethereum developers! The same will happen to you if you don’t do something about it now.

We all want Ethereum to be a large civilization, right?  Of course, but that presents a problem.  In all of human history, no large civilization has ever NOT turned into a police state.  Big governments and big corporations using state power always take over.  So how is the Ethereum community going to avoid it now?

(Hint: there IS a way!)

Some developers say, this could never happen to Ethereum, which is all about decentralization.  Is it?  Look at these sentences posted on Ethereum’s landing page right now:

  • Create an democratic autonomous organization
  • A virtual organization where members vote on issues
  • A transparent association based on shareholder voting
  • You own country with an unchangeable Constitution
  • A better delegative democracy

Let me ask this question:

Is democracy the same as decentralization? 

The idea posited on this list seems to be, if you have a fair voting system, you get decentralization.  But is that true?  If so, the U.S.A. is a voting democracy – how come it’s not decentralized?

What’s the precise relationship between democracy and decentralization? 

What is the causal connection between the two concepts? 

How does one lead to the other?  Can you flow chart it?  Can you build a technology based on your understanding of this relationship?  Or is the connection between these two terms -- democracy and decentralization -- a little bit vague?

Don't get me wrong -- I’m a fan of Ethereum.  The problem is not Ethereum or its goals.  The problem is only that developers are hazy on where blockchain technology is headed.  How will Ethereum fit into current political systems?  Nobody knows.  People vaguely think the blockchain will do things like:

  • Increase freedom
  • Protect property
  • Get rid of coercion
  • Increase morality

but here is the problem: these are some extremely fuzzy concepts – that is, they’re fuzzy UNTIL you understand Open Source Government.  OSG makes these concepts crystal clear. 

Consider this for a moment:  just like Ethereum developers don’t understand what the connection between democracy and decentralization is, they don’t know what freedom means, either. 

They don’t know what property is.

They don’t know what coercion is.

They don’t know what “crime” or “justice” or “fairness” means.  Ethereum developers are attempting to build a grand system that more fairly governs human action, but they don’t even know what fair government means.

If you don’t know what "fair government" is, how can you build it? 

You can’t. 

In fact, if you don’t know what you’re doing, if you’re developing technologies in the dark, you could just as well create LESS freedom, LESS justice and MORE coercion without knowing it.  You could make the world worse.  Even though it is not your intention, you could inadvertently put a powerful new tool right into the hands of the police state. 

The solution to this problem is Open Source Government.

At the core of Open Source Government is a scientific definition of the term property.  By “scientific,” I mean it is non-ambiguous and operational (able to be technologized).  Using that as a foundation, OSG then explains how to achieve things like “freedom” and “justice,” eliminate “coercion,” and so on.  All these terms (and some others) are non-ambiguously and operationally defined within OSG, as well.  

Ethereum developers today have the opportunity to build freedom for the first time in history and be the founders of a new kind of civilization.  But unless they know the difference between freedom and coercion, blockchain technology could easily lead to even greater centralized control than we have now. 

Using OSG architecture, Ethereum can achieve such strong networks of reciprocity, such a multitude of community services, such a high degree of stability, it simply out-competes the political state.  No political state has ever been able to build freedom, ensure justice or build a peaceful world, but OSG can.  

Let me give you an analogy to explain the benefits of understanding Open Source Government. 

Hundreds of years ago, technologists were building steam engines.  Dennis Pappin, a French physicist and inventor, built one in 1680 (he also invented the pressure cooker in your kitchen.)  Another was built in 1698 by the English inventor, Thomas Savery.  

The Savery Steam Engine, 1698

The Savery Steam Engine, 1698

Thomas Newcomen built the famous “Atmospheric Engine” in 1712 and used it to pump water out of coal mines, a big problem at that time.  In 1736, the James Watt steam engine was the first to use rotary motion. 

 

Sadi Carnot

Sadi Carnot

Then, ninety years later, a man named Sadi Carnot came on the scene.  He wrote one book in his lifetime: Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire, in 1824.  In it, he explained the fundamental heat dynamics that made engines run.  Before his book, people were building engines, but they were inefficient.  But after, once they understood the physics, there was an explosion in the efficiency of steam power.  Instead of looking at engines, one at a time like separate intellectual puzzles, they looked at fundamental principles.  This led to increased efficiency and TONS more applications that the original builders of engines never imagined, and steam power became the backbone of the industrial revolution.  As a result of his work, Sadi Carnot is now called “The Father of Thermodynamics.”

Ethereum developers today are in the same situation that engine builders were in before Carnot.  They are extremely clever tinkerers.  But they are missing the BIG PICTURE.  What is the Big Picture?  It’s Open Source Government.  OSG explains the universal, fundamental constants – the basic scientific principles – of all possible human social systems. 

OSG concepts MUST built into relevant Ethereum-based projects.  OSG algorithms provide strong concept-durability that prevents a well-intended project from eroding into just another political system. 

If you care about the long-term success of Ethereum – and of blockchain technology in general – I urge you to read my book on OSG.  It’s called, The End: The Fall of the Political Class.   

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For An In-Depth Explanation of the Fundamentals of Open Source Government, Read, The End: The Fall of the Political Class by Chas Holloway.

 

stairs.gif
This was the image I used to promote the original Open Source Government White Paper on the Ethereum Forum. It was downloaded over 2,000 times by developers all over the world.
 

Contents:

 

Introduction

 

Non-Technical Explanation No. 1

 

Non-Technical Explanation No. 2

 

Short Explanation for Ethereum Developers

 

Long Explanation for Ethereum Developers