An Overarching Design Principle for the Distributed Economy

(Still in draft mode. Not suitable for public circulation)

Neighbourhoods is a design philosophy that emphasises the articulation of 'Specific Culture, using Generic Tools'. They are are built using agent-centric infrastructural tools, some of which are mentioned in this document.

'Neighbourhoods' serves as a counter-cultural organising principle for distributed networks. The principles that best represent the Neighbourhoods philosophy are:

1. ‘Generic Tech, Specific Culture’:

Neighbourhoods actively leverage reputational infrastructure to formally articulate their culture. All interactions (commercial and otherwise) occur through generic tools that can be tweaked/contextualised to align with the cultural architecture. As an example, a neighbourhood may spin up generic agent-centric tools to facilitate conversations within its members. These tools may be reddit-like-threads, or couch-surfing-like-search-tools, but discovery occurs through pre-defined reputation systems.

Apps, or businesses on the other hand would impose their generic culture over all communities that choose to access their tools For example, a community of people may have to resort to using Facebook for their conversations, and Couch-surfing for space-sharing, and in each case have to contend with an imposition of Facebook's and Couch-surfing's culture on their community.

2. Leverage ‘memetic bridges’ for coordination at scale over ‘universal consensus’

Memetic bridges convey/port information through channels, as opposed to maintaining a central register of records. This is critical for two reasons:

  • Centralised registers tends to gravitate towards more monolithic information due to the costs of maintaining consensus. This often works against articulation of diverse cultural systems, since reputation tends to thrive under 'relativism'.

  • A Central register also dedicates more resources towards the actual governance/rules of maintaining the ledger, which may not be relevant in cases where information is relative/subtle

3. Reputation first i.e. think 'membranes' that guide the flow of capital and content

Capital and content have varying degrees of access and control, based on the reputation/context of the observer.

For a dive into the origins of the Neighbourhood philosophy, check out the link below.

Note: We do not believe every situation or problem needs Neighbourhoods-like solutions, but that the design philosophy is relevant in contexts where monolithic architectures like 'Apps or Businesses' have limited efficacy.