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I’m writing!

Finally!

I have begun to get things written down. It takes a while, and I don’t have many whiles, because the paper is due on May 21st!

Nevertheless I’m aiming for the paper it to be done in time. It was never about the grade, always about the process. Even having to adjust to a certain standard for how to turn in the result of my work in itself is prohibitive I feel.

I have decided to write the thing in a deki wiki (http://allanwith.wik.is). My plan is to just extract the report from the wiki as a pdf, print it out, smack a frontpage on top of it and turn it in! Feel free to register and comment on the work. Needless to say, it’s a work in progress.

I think that since I last posted about how much time I have spent on the thing I must have spent approximately 35 more hours reading, taking notes, etc.

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Programmers: What is your motivation?

Hi!

I’m hoping to conduct a small survey that I might use in the paper.

I want to hear from programmers what your motivation is? I’m deliberately not using something like surveymonkey, because I want you to put it in your own words.

To get you going, you can think of such elements as: money, working for a cause, nerding around, to learn something, etc. What really gets you going?

Just comment this post to answer.

If you’re not a programmer you can still answer. I think that the answers will actually be pretty universal no matter what kind of work You do.

Micro-loans in Denmark

Just saw this. It is now possible to obtain micro-loans in Denmark.

The article is here (but is in Danish): http://www.urban.dk/article/20080317/danmark/703190004/

Basically it says that homeless people can start their own business on the basis of micro loans. And interest for this initiative has already been surprisingly large.

Appropriate Economy

Ah, easter. A welcome opportunity to continue work on the paper… or so I thought. I spent a couple of days in my parents summer house NOT getting very far, but today I managed to get a little reading done.

Today I read about the “Appropriate Economy” which is part of a greater movement, which started in the 70’s as far as I can gather, sometimes referred to as “Solidarity Economy” or “People’s Economy”.

Appropriate Economics sees economic relations fundamentally as social relations. I deals with the attempt to embed ethics and values into an economic network

An appropriate economy builds on local assets, ressources and culture. It builds on the culture of the local community, which is why it can be difficult to transfer a system to another community. It is not an “off-the-shelf” solution.

http://www.appropriate-economics.org/introduction.html

They mention something which they call “Steady-State Economy” which is something I must look into. I think it sounds way incompatible with my wishes for an alternate economic system. This system tries to keep consumption down by imposing a lot of limits (on income, expenditure, number of chidren born, etc.). Sounds to me like a step in the wrong direction, but I have to look more into it.

Can anyone (if there’s anyone out there) point me to some good litterature about the human psyke and money? I mean something which argues why money has been such an “ideal” mechanism for us? I’m particularly interested in something that talks about how we use money as punishment, which we can do as long as money is a scarce ressource.

Oh, and I also bought a book called “Short Circuit: Strengthening Local Economies for Security in an Unstable World” by Richard Douthwaite (yes for REAL money) and printed a free book called “Poor Because of Money”. And because it’s good friday and I couldn’t stay completely focused all afternoon I also bought a new toy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeYXVs7yu3U

đŸ™‚

22 hours

Next step 2.0

I finished Margrit Kennedy’s book and it was great! Well, if bad news can be considered great, THEN it’s great. Actually Margrit mentions Michael Lintons experiment with the LETSystem in her book, and says that one should support all initiatives towards alternative economic systems.

Another book I read was Tor Nørretranders’es “Civilization 2.0” which I thought was brillant. It’s very easy to read I think, and does come up with some interesting points and thoughts which I’m very much inspired by (as will become evident in the coming weeks and months). Especially the whole idea about flow and links.

20 hours spent at this time.

Project started!

Alright, so I’ve finally started reading material to use in a paper that I’m writing this spring at ITU (the IT University in Copenhagen). The subject of the paper is going to be “Alternate economies, Social Economy and IT” – and I will try and keep track of my progress via this blog. Any and all suggestions for further material or interesting observations are more than welcome.

So far I’ve read:
– Adam Arvidsson: Crisis of Value and the Ethical Economy
– Michael Bauwens: Dornbirn Manifesto
– A lot of material about an alternative monetary system called “LETSystem”.

Adam Arvidsson basically describes an emerging phenomenon which he calls the “Ethical Economy”. He describes it as an alternative economy, which (1) is largely coordinated by respect, peer-status, networks, friendship and other forms of inter-personal recognition and (2) often produces something ethical (a community, a shared value or an affective intensity).

Michael Bauwens talks about a peer-to-peer economy which covers much of human activity that isn’t included in the traditional economy. After all, as he says “..the market can only indirectly and partially provide monetary compensation for processes which are not motivated by such compensation”. Or put in other words, if I’m not in it for the money, then money will only have partial effect on my motivation.

And then I stumbled upon the LETSystem. This is a brilliant practical idea, which I believe adresses many of the same points as Adam and Michael talk about. Basically it is an alternative monetary system, which has some very noteworthy rules:
1. NO interest
2. Money are submitted by the users, not a state or national bank. YES that’s right, anyone can issue money.
3. Everyone knows how much money everyone else has
4. Everyone has a starting balance of 0
5. It is locally founded, not meant to include huge amounts of users

I think an example will help illustrate. Let’s say that two persons both are members of a LETSystem. One user would like the other to help installing electricity in his house. So they agree on a price of 10 units. This is noted in the public books, so now user one has a balance of -10 and user two has a balance of 10. Later on user one helps someone else for the amount of 10 units, bringing his balance back to 0.

Right now I’m reading a book by Margrit Kennedy, called “Ekonomi utan ränta och inflation”, which seems very interesting. I haven’t read too far yet, but one thing she says is that interest on money is like a cancer on society!

Combined project time at this point is approximately 10 hours.

Goin’ to BarCamp…

Alright, so I’ve signed up as a speaker at BarCamp Copenhagen (http://www.barcamp.org/BarCampCopenhagen). It’s not a big deal (I tell myself), nevertheless I think it is an incredibly exciting opportunity to meet with and hopefully learn from other techies. The basic premise is that particpants must be prepared to share! I like that!!

And since the second rule of barcamp is that You Do Blog About BarCamp I thought I’d have to write something!!

So this won’t be about serving information just one way, it’ll be about information exchange and seeding new ideas. I mean, I certainly hope that I can contribute constructively with something, should anyone actually choose to spend 15 minutes with me. But I also hope that those people will be prepared to participte actively.

The theme for my 15 minute session will be “Social Economy and ICT”. I’m going to try and explain why I think ICT (or just IT) can play and already plays a crucial role in enabling a new kind of economy that is NOT monetary. That maybe there could be other kinds of motivation for humans to act and work than the good old coin.

Now just a brief brush-up on who I am and why this has my interest. I’m 33 years old, and I have a bachelors degree in “Technical Science” from the Technical University of Denmark. My daytime occupation is as the co-founder and 50% part of the dynamic duo behind beaconware, which is a (very) small two-person worldwide IT-company with International Headquarters in Copenhagen :-). Actually this is the place where BarCamp is going to be held. In my spare time I sing gospel and volunteer in a small group of PR professionals for the local branch of Red Cross in Copenhagen. All of these activities help shape my thinking in various ways and it is the sum of these thoughts that I will try my best to present on Friday.

That’s it for now, a little more than a three-word-intro (4th rule of BarCamp) but a lot less than my whole life story ;-). Feel free to comment (should anyone actually read this). For instance, if anyone has any suggestions as to how I should tag this post, please comment. I don’t think I quite get what would be relevant…

Hope to see You there!

Best wishes from Allan