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metameme - future social design - future developments - college - sliders- (revisions)

planned focus of further editions in 2001

opening discussion - april

LETSplay is a game to help open the imagination. Play can be the beginning, middle and end of learning and understanding. It's easier to consider new ideas in a hypothetical context, a virtual reality where there's nothing to lose, rather than in the much more risky real world.

The LETSplay game simulates trading with both conventional money (the kind backed by governments and central banks) and community money (the kind we back ourselves). It reveals the key differences between these two types of money and shows how they work together. Players gain an understanding of the nature of a money that circulates within a closed network.

Any number of people can play the game - from 5 to 5000 or more. It can also be played alone. Any organization, government agency, and business network can play the game to learn how to use open money to enhance their operations. The game can be played in meetings, over the phone and by email. The LETSplay game will soon be on the web - perhaps by the time you read this.

Since the game accurately represents reality, players can apply what they learn to their use of virtual money in the real world. A single play (transaction) takes about a minute to do and a minute to record. Each player makes about 20 transactions in a game, which could all be done in an hour, something that might take a month in real time.

The LETSplay game is a powerful vehicle for the open money meme - it transforms and enables the imagination, which is what makes action possible.

opening operations - june

From playing with the ideas, we progress to working with the reality of actual operations, to the installation of the systems that make open money widely available. The operations - both human administration and technology - must be able to meet the service requirements from the beginning, and create confidence in its users.

The project uses the open source software development model to ensure the widest opportunity for programmers and system designers to contribute their skills and experience. With a project that can grow very quickly, it is absolutely essential that we are doing it right.

For modern money management in retail businesses, restaurants, transport services, "doing it right" means using smart cards - memory microchips on plastic cards. These are in some ways much like credit and direct debit cards, but in others, very much smarter. One smart card can carry many independent virtual community moneys, just as a normal wallet can hold several sorts of money bills - Yen, $, Francs - but the smart card doesn't get them mixed up.

A network of on-line internet accounts and off-line smart cards creates a perpetual money machine - a friction free energy circuit for all the moneys needed for a fully functioning community economy.

The first task of administration is to name and establish domains in the money network so that those names can be allocated to account holders, much as email addresses are allocated on the internet. The next task is to set up the data catching process, so that account holders can easily and confidently make transfers of virtual money from their accounts to those of others by various means - voice mail, check, email, or directly access their accounts at a web-site.

Support for these accounting services will be maintained by a network of community currencies service providers (ccsp). Particularly at the beginning, most ccsp will be independent small businesses or community organizations, usually formed just for this purpose. A research, development and training organization - a college of community currencies (cc) development - is being established in Japan to co-ordinate education and standards for ccsp. The first courses are planned for April (for more details please see below and on the web-site).

opening moves - august

When everything is in place, it's time for activation - time to boot the system, prime the pump, light the paper, hit the switch,

Many creative minds are now working on developing suitable ways and means for launching open money systems in this country.

In general, an open network of community currencies (cc) service providers can be financially self-sustaining, operating in the open marketplace of financial and information services for the business community. Hence the network doesn't need subsidies or grants, either for development or ongoing operations. Small scale local investments are enough to get started. However, partnership with government agencies is very valuable for both parties.

Within that context, the main thrust of the first open money systems will most likely be multi-user community development projects, designed to raise money (real and virtual) for local needs and organizations. Projects will be based on making the case to business in the community, that by using cc systems they can generate strong loyalty. Business loyal to their communities will prosper - it will be rewarding to participate in community money systems in general, and particularly so to be one of the underwriters and backers of that money.

Henry Ford knew he could only sell cars if people could afford to buy them- so he made sure his workers were well paid. If he'd paid them in community money, he and the community would have done even better. Loyalty has always worked better when it's a two-way deal - when a business is as loyal to its customers as they are to it.

By August, much will be happening as various communities, networks, businesses and organizations start open money systems. These systems will thereafter run virtually friction free (almost) - some on cards, some over the net, some on paper, some in the mind. And so you can expect many real and imagined scenarios like this docu-drama below. Not science fiction, but projective fiction.

opening organisation - october

There's one particular difficulty that has to be faced when designing the financing for open money development. You can give free money away, but you can't sell it. Open money services are so easy and cheap to provide that the market rates for cc service providers will never be high, and will quickly drop to very little, and then almost nothing. While this is good, it does mean that initial investments in cc systems development won't generally be recoverable from service charges. The revenue to pay for development must come from another source.

One way to manage this is to intentionally organise and direct development projects to raise large amounts of funding for community groups, simply as a spin-off or by-product of the means used to begin the systems. It is reasonable that the development group responsible for the program receive perhaps 10% - 15% of the money they raised for the community, so that they are able to continue doing so. Then the development group is not only doing good, but also, in direct consequence and proportion, doing well. The scale of this revenue is designed to be around 0.1% of the open money economy generated over the first few years, diminishing as time passes.

Setting up development financing in this way makes it possible to take a longer term view and prepare 5 year plans for regional development, outreach, research, and education.

Local organizations will be linked to others both nationally and globally.

Organising the development of virtual money is clearly an opportunity for virtual corporations, joint ventures and collaborations. Open money development is an open process, with open books, and participation is open to any contributor with something to offer.

directions opening - december

Where are we going?
Perhaps, with open money,
we can have some choice.

Contemporary Canadian aboriginal wisdom - "Stay calm.... be brave.... wait for the signs." - Tom King