Hey interwebizens! I’m the DisCO CAT and I’m speaking to you hoomans on behalf of the
It seems we’ve been nominated for a Noonie in the field of Economics due to our radical and innovative governance model rooted in feminist economics, the commons, decentralized technologies, the acknowledgment of care work and P2P practices, and totally unlimited treats. We’re the punky cousin of DAOs(Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) and hey, not going to lie to you, we aim to revolutionize the future of work and value.
DisCO is a set of organizational tools and practices for groups of people who want to work together in a cooperative, commons-oriented, and feminist economic form. Our model aims at ensuring that everybody can get together to reimagine economics from the bottom-up.
DisCO incubates a new cooperative model for the digital age, incorporating care-based cultural practices and DLT-based tools with a global approach that is fair and inclusive, committed to equality, and to addressing the social and ecological challenges of today's world. It was indeed created to promote new economic models that are fair and inclusive.
In other words, we are a bunch of starry-eyed people (led by a cat, of course) who strongly believe that DisCOs can be a useful tool for the precariat in self-organizing into purpose-oriented collectives to foster economic counterpowers against predatory capitalism.
The DisCO model is especially suited for coops (not the chickeny ones I like to barge into sometimes, but the democratically-owned associations of people). However, the cultural and structural features may be adapted to any kind of group or organization.
Instead of just tracking work according to the values upheld by the traditional market culture and its prices, the DisCO model proposes three value streams: “pro bono” work (commons-oriented voluntary work chosen by the people who form the group); “livelihood” work; and reproductive or care work.
Shares in these three types of work determine how much is paid to each member on a monthly basis. The money to pay shares comes from the productive market-based work performed by the workers; the difference is that all work is visible, recognized and rewarded.
In short, the more effort and care put into the collective by a member, the larger the member’s share. This is not a competitive scheme influenced by game theory. It’s a solidarity-based strategy for economic resistance that allows all members to contribute according to their capacity. All members create value of varying kinds.
Aaaah, this is one of my favourite questions, I thought you’d never ask!
OK hoomans, whoamong you hasn’t experienced the feeling of selling your soul or sacrificing your principles for a paycheck? You expect so little of your workplaces while they demand so much of you. Does anyone feel they have the luxury of questioning this dynamic? It’s very difficult to care about a job that cares so little about you. Sometimes the only way to get through it is to focus on small, personal victories that carry you through the day and remind you that other possibilities do exist. And believe it or not, that was the initial seed that would eventually grow into DisCO. In our own unique way, we’ve succeeded in failing at capitalism by upending its values and coming out on top (of the refrigerator, which all cats know is the “corner office”), and this is what has motivated us to find more hooman ways of working, and eventually success on our own terms.(If you want to know more about how we miserably failed at keeping a job and unknowingly jeopardized capitalist workplaces, read our
Whenever I see people talk about technology as a tool that might help us organize better, it becomes clear to me that the mightiest technology you hoomans have is conversations. This is how everything starts, how everything evolves, how things take shape and how decisions are made in a community. I know this is not the answer most would expect because it implies a shift of paradigm and way of thinking (an ontological shift, meow). Technology is here to help us do things better, but it’s ultimately we who have to decide whether we want to build better, fairer, more distributed futures and thus employ the existing technologies towards those purposes.
While DAOs and the blockchain are being hailed as the next big disruption to our economic realities, this supposed disruption is still limited by several key factors. Blockchains and DAOs do nothing in practice to address the basic structural realities; in fact, they may even reinforce them. Early investors with their associated privileges, and highly tech-literate individuals are given undue advantage. The promise of decentralization fails as the networks and implementations form centrally around those investors. Meanwhile, the three pillars of present centralization and hierarchy, i.e., the patriarchy, capitalism and colonialism, are rarely acknowledged or addressed. This makes my tail twitch.
Developed (and invested in) unchecked, the affordances of the blockchain and DAOs could usher an algorithmically executed political economy, where legal recourse, human realities and divergences from the code can simply be ignored, like I ignore the expensive toys in favor of cardboard boxes. To use disruptive technology for a wider benefit, we need countercultural alternatives_to leverage the positive aspects of DAOs for radically different economic and social ends. Our proposal is the DisCO form of distributed cooperative organization.
Ten million buys a lot of canned sardines, but I’m not a selfish cat, I want to make sure there’s enough to go around. I’d invest in myself, the DisCO CAT, and build this ecosystem of delightful cooperative practices and tools that make the hoomans a lot less stressed out and worried about their immediate precarity. I’d invest in the incubation (sounds toasty! I’m in!) of more
I’m learning that (for some strange reason) the hoomans want to work together again after a few years of digital displacement, but it’s not easy to go back to the way things were. I’m learning that Covid-19 has separated the hoomans in more than just physical ways; they have lost a lot of faith in the information they see online; they get easily upset about how they can’t trust anymore, and they just want to return to “normal”, whatever that is. And I’m also learning that more hoomans than I even knew existed are working on new ways to be better, and do better, than before. Color me hopeful.
The “daily ration” listed on the cat food can is a misprint and you really have to follow your heart as you look deeply into my eyes, deeper... you want to feed this cat the whole can: that’s it, go ahead. Also, you should understand everything you possibly can about power and how it flows around before you start working in an unstructured group of hoomans because wow, lemme tell you. That’s just - no. Paging Jo Freeman! But seriously, while acknowledging my 9-lives privilege, I can tell you that the best time to make a change for the better is right now. Get clear on what you need to know and do in order to trust people, by what criteria you value the things you do together, and learn how to distribute that value in a cooperative and transparent system so everybody sees what they need to see, even in the dark.
Get out of that clothes dryer, right now. Find (another) warm place to sleep before it gets cold, make eye contact when someone speaks to you, and avoid hoomans who don’t like animals because - wait for it - hoomans are animals. I know, amazing. Most of all, don’t waste time worrying about being judged because you will never please everyone, especially not me. And never show up to a home empty-handed.
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