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The phenomenon of "money" is tightly connected to the phenomenon of "community", because a stable and reasonably large cultural context is needed to create money; and because a monetary system is needed for interaction with society. So "community" may refer to a society or state, to increasingly larger units historically, so that we may expect that at some time a world currency supported by the UNO will come into existence.

Money is created and used because it solves a number of problems (maybe MoneyPattern?), it creates advantages for the society as a whole, especially for its economic activities. Of course, not everyone is equal, there are winners and losers of money systems. Those in control are typically best off. Is money good, bad or does this depend on how it is managed or controlled?

In a world of injustice, money looks as the source of a lot of evils. People and communities think about a life without money. They think about money that is somehow purified, to get more social justice. Alternate and regional currencies are in use, often with great success. Are AlternateCurrencies?, RegionalCurrencies? or VirtualCurrencies? a way to go?

Relatively small communities have to use the money that is available. Some communities, e. g. online-communities may be in a situation where money is not needed and this may look like idyllic. If goals go beyond being a discussion group, then real resources may be necessary or desirable. The introduction of money into an existing online community that worked without money up to that point, may create all kinds of PureOnlineCommunityMoneyProblems?.

Online Communities are often grown as part of a business plan of some corporation. A Mass of member or contributors are attracted by some free service and when some critical mass has been reached, then paid add-ons can be introduced as cheap services, without burdening the typical member strong enough to blow the community. Maybe MassServiceCommunities??

Pure online communities could also be created to produce or provide services, but it seems that it seems not easy to make them work. It might be very attractive to think about a workplace at home, working for an online community, maybe one that you co-own, that provides a living. Maybe OnlineCooperatives??

Introducing money in a new context

The psychology of money holds that people separate the world into moneyed things and non-moneyed things, and you should never confuse the two. An act done for altruistic reasons should not be rewarded with money, but rather through means that deepen PersonalRelationships. Giving a $20 tip to someone who helped you up from a fall would be considered a grave insult. You can't give the cashier at the grocery store helpful advice in lieu of payment.

However, it is a common myth that the pursuit of money is always counter to doing good in the world, sometimes expressed as "Money is the root of all evil." There are enlightened approaches, such as SocialEntrepreneurship, where people are in business to support a social cause.

Keep in mind that money is an abstraction of resources. If you want to make an impact in the world, you need resources, and therefore money. You have to keep money coming in to remain operating. Charity is a business too, which is why charities spend a lot of money on fundraising. In some cases 90% of funds raised go to pay the fundraiser, but it's worth it to collect the 10% and get the donor on the donor list.

For big problems, if you want to scale a charity's operations to meet the challenge, you need to keep bringing in more and more money. The most efficient legal structures for raising the funds are for-profit businesses. Profit can be invested in building scale, which will generate more profit to keep building. Moreover, businesses are more easy to make self-sustaining than donations. Eventually you could naturally and sustainably grow your business to meet the whole challenge. If the business is fundamentally about fighting for a social good, it's considered to be a SocialEnterprise?. The revolution must be profitable, or at least 'not-for-loss'!

People also often turn their hobbies into their careers. There is a huge psychological change when this happens, as hobbies are done primarily for fun, whereas work is done primarily for survival. It's such a big shift that it's common advice to do the thing you love the most as a hobby and the do the thing you love second as a career. Nevertheless, if you can navigate the change, you can do what you love for money, which is amazing. If your hobby is about helping other people, this can be truly rewarding. On the other hand, because all your psychological rewarding activities are in the same basket, it's common to burn out if you take this path.

Conflicts of interest

HelmutLeitner: I was engaged in an NGO for regional development (because I was interested of the effects of wiki as a tool). Lots of people did a lot of unpaid work for a better future. There was a lot of idealism and of "poverty" in a sense, which was accepted in face of a grand vision. After two years it became clearer and clearer to me that certain resources had to be made available to reach the goals. Partly to pay for external resources, partly to decrease "poverty" internally. This creates a number of problems. First of all, a problem of leadership. Second, when you start to distribute money, no-one thinks he is treated fair. Do you give those who do most, or those who need it most? Third, as an Organization you can get at money e. g. by funding, by project contributions, by providing (partly) paid services. All this needs entrepreneurial abilities. The need to "sell the community" is often contrary to what people seek, an alternative world beyond "selling". There come a lot of tensions. To me, it ended in a retreat, because I would have had to either give up on the explicite social goals or on my system knowledge.

[[This section needs work. It might be a good idea to move some of the other personal experiences here, and add a general introduction]]

Ideas for mitigating the harmful effects of money

Contributors: NathanielThurston, HelmutLeitner, JuanmaMP, FridemarPache, SunirShah


Todo: making subtitles and reorganizing conversation parts

JuanmaMP: Long time ago, I was in summer's course about chemical and enviroment, I was surprised a bit off topic this paper about the matrices of [Manfred_Max-Neef] (Human-scale Development). Always that I read about others economy, I remember of that model. I suggest the [book].

HelmutLeitner: As I suggested this page without actually creating it or a stub, I'm a bit astonished about what course it took. The topic seems to me very general. One could talk about families or NGOs and their ways to deal with money, one could even talk about the different catholic orders, rich and poor. Online communities seem to me just one more kind of social system. One can learn from tens of thousands other social systems that have existed. So my questions would be: What special ways do social systems have to deal with money? Is a separation between a social community and a non-social community (e. g. a corporation) senseful and possible, in relation to this topic? What are the advantages and problems of certain policies? / Actually it seems to me - ad hoc, without much analysis - that money is uninteresting if it is not related to things like ( "disposition" "power" "control" "competencies" ) being connected to "social status" in one way or other. / There is also a difference between money in internal relations and in external relations. It is interesting that coorporations whose business is making money externally have found organizational forms where money plays hardly a role at the workplace internally. / I think this is a vast topic.

Todo: making subtitles and reorganizing conversation parts

HelmutLeitner: Fridemar, I think that understanding online phenomena starts with understanding the real world and looking where online systems differ. Not the other way round, to think that the online world is beyond psychological or functional cause-effect relationships, a world of wishful constructivism.

FridemarPache focusing on actions instead of wishful constructivism: Helmut, it goes without saying that each knowledge, gained from the off-line worlds, can help to build a better on-line world, and it is clear that wishful constructivism, doesn't bring food on the table. It is not enough to ventilate and share ideas, we have the wonderful opportunity to actually realize new WikiNomics ideas in this MeatballWiki and beyond. Most of the people here appear to be not aware of this.

JuanmaMP: Fridemar, yes, I meant things as you say about extras, despite there's no parallel world, life online offers new opportunities by itself, not always from osmosis thanks to real world

FridemarPache: I changed the formulation into the more neutral wording: "Earning money", which doesn't tacitly presuppose, that there operates a powerful employer agent, upon who's mercy a kind of one sided dependency status is established. Instead of this we can explore alternatives, where each one is each other's employer and employee in a generalized sense.

FridemarPache balancing "negative" with "positive": Looking for Google:MoneyAndCommunity, I found in the search extract: the attribute "negative" prominently exposed. To not reinforce the classical cliché in the general conscience and to invite participants of either couleur, I added "positive" into the Intro.

NathanielThurston: On the subject of the utility and danger of money, my view is that money can be a powerful force, and as such that it has a tendency to illuminate, concentrate, and magnify existing social problems. Money is often introduced to serve the community, but somehow after some period of time has elapsed it has turned the tables, so that the community serves money. I think we all agree that money should serve community -- but how can we keep it in its proper place?

Antitheses to the issues given in the DocumentMode

FridemarPache: Earning no money by an activity done from the heart, can lead to unsound consequences, e.g. a segregation of the society into rich philantropists and kept poor people, who have no energies left to do "activities from their heart", because they have to work hard enough for (little) money elsewhere, whereas rich enough people can enjoy to be good-doers, not motivated by money. This way poor people are also deprived of the opportunity to build up their self-esteem.

Not integrating the income motive within communities can and does lead to a braindrain towards paid "serious work" outside the communities and thus to the death of communities in form of GhostTowns. On the other hand it tends to burdon the communities (administrators) with an increasing flood of spam from attackers, due to less vested wikizens (with little interest to defend their wiki "work"place) on a platform with increasing economical value.

NathanielThurston: Fridemar, would you please try to find a restatement of these assertions in a form to which you think Sunir would agree?

FridemarPache: Nathaniel thank you, for not deleting my balancing antitheses, but only moving them to this discussion section. I suggest to recover the original pairs of theses, antitheses in a form that needs reformulation of all the
involved statements. This is not an easy task, since the term money is loaden with lots of negative associations. Perhaps we need another more general page name like CurrencyAndCommunity? to broaden our horizon.

FridemarPache: I would reformulate the statements in the issues section as:

The evidence and reasoning I have to support this proposed reformulation is Insert argument here

BiLinks: <->

DiiGo annotated page.

CategoryWikinomics, CategoryPayment


NathanielThurston -- Fri Sep 4 08:19:44 2009

Fridemar, I do not understand how an individual community's non-profit nature has anything to do with "an increasing flood of spam from disintegrated attackers". My general impression is that most spam comes from financially secure, antisocial individuals, intent on pursuing personal monetary gain without regard to the societal damage they incur, and not that it is related to their inability to make a decent living in other ways. Please elaborate on your assertion that an individual community's non-profit nature is somehow related to the spam plague.

FridemarPache: Nathaniel, we know that both kinds of communities have to struggle with the spam plague, communities with a (visible) motive for profit or such without. So I ask how strongly motivated are the members (independently of the above distinction) to reflect on and handle defective actions as spam and vandalism. To a community of occasional, not very invested hobby wikizens such attacks are not such a big thread to reducing their quality of life as in a community of professionally engaged members, whose income is proportional to the wellbeing of their supported and supporting platform. As a consequence there are probably more defendants in the latter type of community.

NathanielThurston -- Mon Sep 14 09:17:27 2009

Fridemar, I think I'm starting to understand where you're coming from: you put global-village effects on the same scale as community effects. But I think you're ignoring a fundamental law of human (and community) nature, that people and communities have a very strong tendency to act in their own perceived self-interest. You're not exempt from this -- if I read you correctly, your perceived self-interest is along the lines of a desire for recognition as something like a saint. More to the point, the rest of us are concerned first for the health of this community, and so if we're presented with a choice that is damaging to our community we will reject it, even if it might have some positive global-scale effects.

Personally, I feel that it is wrong to put global concerns above local concerns. An analogy would be the instructions you get in an airplane: put your own oxygen mask on before you put your child's mask on. The reasoning (in both cases) is that we're in a much better position to help others if we take care of ourselves first. The challenge, in my view, is to find win-win solutions, which are better for both our community and for the world at large; and I think that here at Meatball we're doing just that, for our goal of creating a guidebook for nurturing healthy online communities will be, in my opinion, crucial for the health of the global village.

FridemarPache: Nathaniel, agreed: we always have to find a win-win situation and creating a guidebook for nurturing healthy online communities is a nice thing. To get the maximal motivation and collaboration power, however we need to integrate income models in the sense of WikiNomics to transform hobby wikizens into professional wikizens. Otherwise (in the longer run) the free floating intelligence in the Web will be drained to those locations, where community work and earning one's life are brought together.

NathanielThurston: Fridemar, your claim about the "brain drain" is an example of "an economic concept without any apparent connection to reality".

The reality: much has been written about the negative effects of money; and in addition, several of us have personal negative experience with integrating money and community. I would add [one of mine] -- I was never as involved as the friend of mine who is party to this lawsuit was, but I was witness to much of it, and I would encourage you to read the PDF.

Your assumption: Integrating money with community without damaging the community is possible.

What's missing: We need first to be convinced that you have a respectful awareness of the pitfalls, second to be convinced that you have taken careful precautions to avoid them, third to trust that you will inform us about the potential disadvantages to your ideas, and finally to judge for ourselves that the inevitable risk of trying something new and different is worth taking. If you wish to convince this difficult audience that your ideas have merit, the burden of proof is yours.

I think that what you're doing is poor marketing -- you act like a used car salesman, pointing out all the shiny features and glossing over the defects. You may convince some people that way, but you won't convince us. I think that your economic ideas may well have a connection with reality; please convince us that such a connection exists.

SunirShah -- Tue Sep 15 15:29:54 2009

Here are some tried and tested concepts.

Maximal motivation is created through personal gain. Collaboration typically does not benefit from environments that encourage personal gain, unless the situation exhibits properties of the IteratedPrisonersDilemma with communal punishment. What is valued as personal gain depends on the person and their purpose for being in the situation. I don't volunteer to make money.

Introducing monetary motivation in a domain with seeming altruism (i.e. where motivations are either improving the world around them or strengthening PersonalRelationships) is often considering insulting. If your neighbour loans you his lawnmower, you don't return it with rent money. Your neighbour just wanted to deeper your PersonalRelationship, and by paying for the lawnmower you indicated you merely want a transactional, disposable relationship.

Other situations are obviously commercial, such as industry associations like standards organizations. There it is clear that everyone is collaborating insofar as they will presumably make more money in their normal trade. And of course more typically, companies, where people collaborate because they are paid to do so.

For decentralized, commercial collaboration, the most efficient systems create property (e.g. though Enclosures) and grant ownership to individuals or organizations to develop that property independent of others, whilst maintaining a common public governance to regulate infrastructure and global resources and costs. When there is no enclosure, the bottom of the BellCurve? will interfere with or steal from the top, causing the best CommunityMembers to leave.

NathanielThurston: Sunir, I would change one small detail: when you say "Introducing monetary motivation ... will totally fail", I would instead say "Introducing monetary motivation ... has a long and sordid history of totally failing, and I see no way around this end-result". Fridemar is an imaginative individual; the possibility exists that he might have in mind just such a solution; and by leaving him this narrow target through which he might squeeze his viewpoint, you avoid creating the impression that you are trying to force your opinion onto his mind, while sparing us from another "apositive claim detected through the use of ePrime" defense.

SunirShah -- Wed Sep 16 01:21:35 2009

I am confident that if I whipped out $20 when my neighbour lent me his lawnmower I would always look like a complete jerk.

Fridemar is dancing around a different point. My comments about ownership are more relevant.

Demanding eprime is just the same selfish bullshit as demanding NonViolentLanguage?. I'll just set the bozo bit for good if anyone does that to me again.

NathanielThurston -- Wed Sep 16 05:54:20 2009

Fridemar, I would like to call your attention to a possibility that I feel looms within the minds of at least some of the other participants in this conflict -- Sunir wrote recently regarding the Meatball mission, "Since they have nothing to back up their ideas except for their egos". If I were to judge solely by your actions in editing MoneyAndCommunity, it would be easy for me to leap to the conclusion that this statement applies to you.

Personally, I think that you likely have something to back up your ideas, for my viewpoint is not so far different from yours. I would ask that you refrain from asserting conclusions (and in particular from asserting conclusions in the DocumentMode portion) and begin to flesh out the supporting facts and reasoning.

Sunir, I would agree that it's unfair for anyone to demand eprime. The reason I think that eprime and non violent communication makes sense in this case is to avoid further inflaming Fridemar's passions about the issue -- my observation is that when I care deeply about a topic, I often feel a violent burst of anger when someone baldly contradicts me, while statements of fact have no such effect. Perhaps it would also be useful for Fridemar to do this translation for himself when he detects such statements -- but it would be kinder for the rest of us to treat him as he wishes to be treated.

SunirShah -- Wed Sep 16 11:41:57 2009

I didn't write my comment in response to Fridemar. I wrote down as many principles on money and community as I could remember. You can't have a page here on this topic without including commonly known, well establised evidenced based principles. I truly do not see how it contradicts WikiNomics

NathanielThurston -- Wed Sep 16 12:52:15 2009

Sunir, I think that

"Introducing monetary motivation in a domain with seeming altruism ... will totally fail"
is in direct contradiction with the intended meaning of:
"Earning income by an activity, originally done from the heart, ... can also lead to a more integral approach, where heart and ratio get reconciliated"

(I moved the latter quote from the DocumentMode Issues section of the page to the discussion section, knowing that you would disagree)

Do you see now? I think we should allow Fridemar his voice, while making it very clear that he does not speak for the community unless and until he has won our agreement... and that he has an awful lot of explaining to do before that could happen.

I'd like to propose another rewording:

"Introducing monetary motivation in a domain with seeming altruism ... has always totally failed"
very slightly weaker (excluding only that history is on occasion made), but now it admits the possibility of finding contrary evidence.

SunirShah -- Wed Sep 16 15:56:08 2009

I don't agree with changes for the reasons you mentioned. You don't get to make up facts through consensus. I don't care about anyone's bad feelings about possibly being wrong--given that I am arguing fairly to the point and not unfairly the person--because a future reader five years from now will be oblivious to this exchange, just as you are oblivious to even extremely heated exchanges that happened five years ago. If we finish with a conclusion that is useless or wrong, what is the point of expending energy at all? And in this case, how would that help Fridemar, who would then go off into the world and a) fail to successfully sell anyone on poorly thought out ideas, b) execute on ideas that are built on shoddy foundations?

However, I only wanted to state findings from actual research. Claiming it will 'totally fail' is unnecessarily editorialized. I will make a change above.

That being said, I would also say that Fridemar's stated reformulation is not better for two reasons. I don't understand what "heart and ratio" means. That doesn't seem to be the right use of the word 'ratio'. If ratio means money, then there is a logical flaw. If you state that maybe X will happen, but also maybe not X, you eliminate the purpose of the sentence. It would be better to paint the spectrum. For instance: [[exposition moved to MoneyAndCommunity]]

NathanielThurston -- Thu Sep 17 10:12:37 2009

Fridemar, there's something important here that I'd like you to see. The transitioner's wealth page describes three forms of wealth: the tradeable (what we ordinarily think of as wealth), the measureable (things like productivity and health), and the acknowledgeable (things like friendship, beauty, freedom, integrity, reputation)

It seems clear that at Meatball we are focused on creating the acknowledgeable forms of wealth (in particular, the beauty of the pages, and the personal relationships) -- and that the effort has been a stunning success. I cannot begin to describe the beauty I saw in the first hours after I encountered the pages the Meatball community had created, but I will say that in my opinion it was and remains one of the wonders of the world.

Where it seems to go wrong is your attempts to "cash out" on this collaborative work of art, through the various economic ideas on which you have tried to execute. To me, and I think to the rest of the community, these acts seem insulting and cheap, for these actions are, in my mind, directly analogous to "Giving a $20 tip to someone who helped you up from a fall".

Like you, I think we would do well to do more to share the "acknowledgeable wealth" we have created in abundance. Where I differ is in the method, for I think that all is required is a more vigorous pursuit of MeatballOutreach.

FridemarPache -- Thu Sep 17 20:23:32 2009

FridemarPache: Sunir, Nathaniel: here in Germany the meaning of the pair heart and ratio (Herz, Ratio) is rather standard. So I have to give it more context to eliminate the gross simplification ratio=money. Heart stands for spontaneous, intuitive, compassionate, emphatic action to help your neighbor, whereas ratio stands for reasoned, well planned, deliberate action that helps you and your neighbor integrating the economic plus the noneconomic context, provided that you act on the principle of the Golden Rule (as e.g. positively formulated in FosterEachOther).

Sunir, your example of lending a lawnmower with an expected 20$ compensation, doesn't describe not at all the typical scenario of my social engagement. Fortunately I can take this as a challenge to give you another example that fits better the concept of social entrepreneurship, as I understand it.

I read of a "social entrepreneur", who lent 20$ to a poor fisherman, to buy him a net to catch fishes. One month later he got back 40$ from the fisherman without any further work of the lender having done.

Now contrast this with the following scenario, where heart and reason (reason, replacing "ratio") are reconciliated:

As before the lender (who himself knows the craft of fishing, but happily has some money over) lends 20$ however additionally collaborates on fishing together with the borrower. The two produce a gain of say 60$. Now they divide the money in equal parts, such that every one has earned 30$. (The additional advantage of the new net for the borrower, based on generosity, is omitted from the calculation) Only if they both had a very back luck, the lender has done a donation of 20$ plus his work. But this is the worst case, which both of the partners try to avoid with their best effort.

Sunir, I don't think that it is a necessary condition to split the mind into a hobby part for things, done by the heart and and a professional part for things, done by reason.

In the case of SocialDomaining the lender offers FreeGainSharing?; he gives away a domain, his initial conceptional work and time for further collaboration on it. Besides that he does the (often) not very much enjoyable PR work, working like a HoofSmith.

Of course the burdon of proof is my responsibility.

Nathaniel, I thank you for the appreciated link to the WhuffieBank?. Could you or somebody else here in the sense of mutual barnraising, please give me a ReTweet? to start a WhuffieBank? account?

SunirShah -- Thu Sep 17 22:30:53 2009

Fridemar: To clarify: the lawnmower is lent without an expectation for compensation. Just a thank you and a better relationship with his neighbour.

I agree. Social entrepreneurship is much closer to what you're describing; it very likely is what you're describing. I also agree that it isn't necessary to split the mind into two parts, money and hobby, money and love, money and community, but this is an enlightened perspective beyond what is common, and it's not common because it's really hard. You asserted,

To get the maximal motivation and collaboration power, however we need to integrate income models in the sense of WikiNomics to transform hobby wikizens into professional wikizens. Otherwise (in the longer run) the free floating intelligence in the Web will be drained to those locations, where community work and earning one's life are brought together.

but this has not been determined. Doing it stably is some trick, and it's defies common belief (which again I emphasize doesn't mean that it isn't possible), and that is why it needs to be demonstrated in actual practice rather than merely asserted or debated.

NathanielThurston -- Sat Sep 19 04:41:48 2009

Sunir and Fridemar, you may find a blueprint of mine useful in this context: TheThingBook? [1] is a design of mine for a brick-and-mortar community that integrates money and love. I would agree with Sunir: It defies common belief, and it's really hard. My wife and I spent something like three months of intense effort on the exposition.

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