PropertyLeft - GNU GPL patterns for the material realm

Copyright can be a problem for sharing in the Virtual realm but the GNU GPL creates Copyleft which utilizes copyright to guarantee the sharing of bits.

Property rights can be a problem for sharing in the Physical realm but we could write a “Terms of Operation” to create PropertyLeft that utilizes Property Rights to guarantee the sharing of atoms.

We cannot use a Copyright license to protect atoms, but we can use the same implementation strategy by buying Property in groups and voluntarily applying a “Terms of Operation” for that Property that enforces similar constraints to hopefully achieve similar results:

1: Consumers own the Means of Production and accept the Product as ROI.

Saint IGNUcius preaches about protecting Users, not Developers.

“‘With free software, the users are in control. Most of the time, users want interoperability, and when the software is free, they get what they want. With non-free software, the developer controls the users. The developer permits interoperability when that suits the developer; what the users want is beside the point.’” – “Three Minutes with Richard Stallman”,137098-c,freeware/article.html

So in this model, the Consumers own the Sources (Land, Tools, etc.) needed for the Objectives (Goods and Services) they need.

We will also co-own the ISPs, the cell-phone towers, the farms, the factories, the wells, the mines, the forges, the refineries… We pay for it all anyway (and more than costs when we pay profit), so it is easy to see we can afford to be the owners.

When the Users own the Physical Sources and accept the Product itself as the return on investment, work is no longer considered a goal in itself, but returns to it’s natural position as a hurdle to be minimized.

Crowd-Funding will become Crowd-Owning when groups of consumers buy and own the Physical Sources needed to house, bathe, feed, clothe and care for their bodies.

2: Treat some Profit as the Consumer’s investment so they receive access to the Sources of the Objects they use.

The GNU GPL says any User that receives ‘Object Code’ must receive access to the Sources.

So when a Consumer receives a Good or Service, they should also receive access to the Means of Production for that Good or Service.

For example, when someone buys a beer, they need to receive ownership in the Sources of that beer, such as a brewery, bottling plant, trucks and so forth.

As we become more and more vertically-integrated, we will own the barley fields, hops fields, equipment to store and propogate yeast, etc.

If the Consumer pays more than cost (in other words, if they pay Profit), we can use some of that to grow the size of the production, but crucially, some of that ownership must accrue to the Consumer that received the Object (Good or Service).

Treating profit as an investment from the payer causes the property ownership of the organization to be automatically distributed to those who paid for that growth and need the results.

3: A Promise to Work is another investment, though contingent on completing those goals

You may commit to Work in the future in return for conditional Property (like rent-to-own I suppose) so you can get room-and-board for now, and also gain real Ownership as those shares vest incrementally as the original commitment is being fulfilled (though this may need to be adjusted on a case-by-case basis if, for example, the job may be a complete failure if it is not completed fully, and in that case the Worker perhaps should get no Property?).

This insures Workers receive property ownership in the Sources of the Goods and Services they need (this is actually most crucial when they do not ‘operate’ those Sources).

Every Worker is also a Consumer. We must protect the Worker as a Consumer.

Trading work promises before production begins allows us to specialize without passing tokens while also solving the “simultaneous coincidence of wants” problem that faces typical barter.

Swapping Skills early also allows re-aligns the Worker’s goals with those of the Consumer.

For example, imagine a Dentist who Promises to fix your teeth when needed in exchange for you Promising to make sure his milk is delivered or his car is fixed or his plumbing works, or whatever.

When the Promises are made early, nobody wishes for work. The Dentist doesn’t want to see you, he wants your teeth to be perfect without him. This is extremely important! 8^D

The group never pays Profit or Wages since all investors are compensated when they receive the Outputs of the Property and Promises they have secured.

If Consumers are the shareholders and accept the Product itself as their return on investment, the product is not sold, so the Price they each pay as a Consumer is exactly the Costs they paid as a co-Owner and Profit does not even exist!

For example, if 1,000 people buy and co-own a dairy simply because they want milk, then they will get that Product at cost, and also have no desire (or hardly any ability) to keep the system ‘closed’.

This is very different from a Consumer Cooperative, since in that case the Product is sold back to the so-called owners, a Profit is taken, and so seeking Profit continues in a Consumer Cooperative.

Nothing is perfect, and predictions are difficult, so sometimes there will be Surplus Product.

When selling the Surplus, we can align ourselves with the Open Source (Free Software) way.

Using the language of the GNU GPL, imagine the Milk is the “Object Code” (or Program) and the Dairy as “Sources”, then we see every consumer of milk must have ‘access’ to the Dairy.

We solve this by charging Profit against newbies as usual, but then treat some of that Profit as that Consumer’s investment.

Let’s say we sell a milkshake for $5, but it really only cost $3 to deliver.

We charge the $5, keep $3 to cover costs, and invest $2 toward buying more land and water-rights and cattle and alfalfa fields, etc required to make future milk.

That $2 investment eventually (seems there should be a vesting period) becomes the real property of the Consumer who paid that Profit.

Treating Profit as the Consumer’s investment causes growth to flow to those who pay more than costs, thereby reducing the trouble of wealth over-accumulation.

We might keep part of the $2 and treat it as usual, but treating Profit as a reward for the current Owners is very dangerous, as it incents artificial scarcity and closed-systems and just generally pits the current Owners against Users that have insufficient ownership.