Evan Wagner - Project Description
 Permabank – Supporting Restorative Currency (by providing tools to balance its qualitative and quantitative aspects)
The content below is the result of work on what began as a personal project begun in February, 2011, and then became integrated along with myself, into the Occupy Wall Street movement, and evolved extensively as a result of interactions, conversations, and collaboration with many individuals and groups within the movement, to whom I continue to be very grateful. Where specific features have been suggested, explicit attribution is provided, otherwise it should still be understood that this project is the result of many people in addition to myself.
currency (countable and uncountable [quantitative and qualitative]; plural currencies)
1. money or other items used to facilitate transactions.
Wampum was used as a currency by Amerindians.
2. (more specifically) paper money.
3. the state of being current; general acceptance or recognition.
The jargon’s currency.
Please watch here the famous scene about currency from film Network (1976), which provides a brilliant summary of the system we are currently dealing with and may, in so doing, compel folks to consider a drastic change.
(Brief context for scene: Beale is network anchor who has exposed nefarious business deal of corporate parent on-air and Jensen, the chairman, is confronting him about it)
value (plural values)
1. the quality (positive or negative) that renders something desirable or valuable
The Shakespearean Shylock is of dubious value in the modern world.
2. the degree of importance you give to something.
The value of my children's happiness is second only to that of my wife.
3. the amount (of money or goods or services) that is considered to be a fair equivalent for something else
He tried to estimate the value of the produce at normal prices.
1. plural of value
2. a collection of guiding principles; what one deems to be correct and desirable in life, especially regarding personal conduct.
"The Buddhist point of view takes the function of work to be at least threefold:
- to give a [wo]man a chance to utilise and develop [her/]his faculties
- to enable [her/]him to overcome [her/]his ego-centredness by joining with other people in a common task
- to bring forth the goods and services needed for a becoming existence."
- E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful, 1973
As the Occupy movement is in transition, there has been conversation about alternatives to the status quo, as people are realizing that what we are protesting will not fix itself and is not amenable to including us and our ideas for reform, so we are left with the option of developing our own means of supporting life, such as food, water, shelter, education, art, work, transportation, etc., including a banking system, one that embodies restorative values. This is Permabank, it being in alignment with permaculture values. In autonomous, virtual and real space, it maintains the currencies that are ‘good for good things’ as it points us in the direction of achieving an expansive gift economy in the long term. Liberty Square/Plaza/Park was only a preview of our collective power to forge, physically and metaphysically, a new and better world, and now it is upon us to re-create that magical space in our communities by taking the responsibility to build our change and to free ourselves.
Core Values of permaculture:
- Care of the Earth: Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply.
- Care of People: Provision for people to access those resources necessary for their existence.
- Setting Limits to Population and Consumption: By governing our own needs, we can set resources aside to further the above principles.
 Value Proposition
While there continue to be many initiatives in implementing the ‘sharing economy’ - from gifting, to time banks, to mutual credit systems, to alternative local paper currencies, to crowd funding/sourcing - there has not been a specific effort to integrate these all together with a vision for collective investment in infrastructure - that for local/regional organic food cultivation, delivery, preparation, and composting; [radical energy renovation of] foreclosed homes reclaimed [by local eminent domain from banks]; mass formation of/conversion to worker co-ops; and the explosion of peer-to-peer economy - for the direct fulfillment of collective and individual needs, wants, and wishes. This is the primary purpose Permabank looks to serve.
The integration of these multiple types of existing alternate currency system types allows for a continuous economic environment that includes both taxable and non-taxable spheres. This is perhaps its most significant innovation. By building and basing the currencies on an autonomous open-source trust network using communication technologies we have on hand, we can liberate our resources from the monopoly control of our currency by the Federal Reserve acting [fraudulently] on behalf of the US Government, which currently provides the basis of trust in the US Dollar by way of its promise to pay returns on US Treasury Bonds. A large part of the motivation for this project is the fact that it becomes ever more evident that it cannot and will not keep its promises, so we must take the responsibility to disintermediate for the sake of our very survival.
With discrete projects, coming from groups or individuals, being the vehicle, we use what I term crowd resourcing to include the support of as many people as possible, all the way from just taking the time to learn about the project, to positive comments, to sharing with your social media network, to skills contributed, to in-kind donations of stuff and space, to even dollars. We grow all our resources, qualitative and quantitative, starting with our selves.
 Primary Elements
 Reputation Documentation System- Individual Profile Based:
"Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what G-d and angels know of us."
- Thomas Paine
WORD IS BOND
One's first currency is one's reputation for trustworthiness (which is qualitative), so the project starts with learning from the existing online systems that have already deployed effective documentation systems for these, such as with CouchSurfing, eBay, Angie’s List, Yelp, NeighborGoods, and social media sites (facebook, Twitter, & Reddit), though more indirectly (expressed in applications like Klout). In a system that is only quantitative, such as the U.S. Dollar (or any other 'political currency'), the only measure of value is more, so there is no way to assess ethical considerations. Social Capital is another term that is often used for what we are calling qualitative currency, and the idea is that evidence of empathetic, generous, and collaborative behavior is highly valued. Obviously, these are not things which can be quantified, so, in a strictly quantitative system of currency, they do not figure. As such, the expression 'making good money' most often only implies a lot of money, and there is in fact really nothing 'good' about it at all, as more profits most often means more exploitation- more efficient extraction of labor and natural resource value to a certain individual or corporation, not a collective increase of abundance and resilience.
The basic elements of an effective reputation system are as follows:
- Collective commitment to 'radical transparency' in all interactions (including those quantified) i.e. no secrets
- Retaining the value of attribution, especially as we strive to move away from the divisiveness bred by current forms of ownership and property, for we also do not want to disregard the contributions of individuals which results in a different kind of alienation
- Method for vouching for others, especially when new participants enter the collective
- Ongoing peer-reviews of people's performance on projects and in sharing events generally
- "If you can't say something positive, don't say anything at all" rule for reporting, in order to neutralize trolls. So, if a person behaves badly in interactions, the lack of reviews will speak loud enough. Constructive criticism can be offered directly between parties concerned. Or, perhaps this feature is not needed, as trolls will get a reputation for being such and their commentary will be considered in that light?
A last few words on this subject: Trust is built through grace in relations. When one 'borrows' (or, steps up 'to use' something- the verb for this in Hebrew - L'hishtamesh - literally means to put sun to) something, one takes the responsibility to be humbly dutiful to cultivate the gift that has been given while it is in one's care (and even an interest-free loan is a gift, according to Lewis Hyde, author of The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property (1983), which picked up on Marcel Mauss' original ethnographic work The Gift - both 'must reads' for anyone interested in gift culture). As such, one doesn't make another ask for one's word, while still giving it mindfully, and doesn't make people ask for delivery on one's promise to the community.
Also, please see this e-mail string among OWS 'Tech Ops Working Group' participants for in-depth discussion of the different merits of qualitative and quantitative reputation systems.
There are many existing forms of operating alternate currencies that each reflect differing degrees of implicit trust, from more to less as listed above, also of potential population from less to more, and of documentation means from qualitative to quantitative - we tend to have the need to count more when we trust less. The idea of consolidating them all with one tool is central to Permabank, so as to offer a full array of options that participants can chose from depending on what they feel is most appropriate to any given sharing event. It can be thought of as ‘generosity training wheels’, as it is often observed in the usage of these various systems that participants feel less and less the need to count their contributions once they have been involved for a while. The point is that familiarity is forged through activity, and the need to self-protect naturally diminishes. The possibility is that, in the long-term, the qualitative documentation of gifts is all that will be needed, but we must start where we are.
It is important to point out that most people already participate in gift economies, whether they realize it or not. A potluck among friends is the perfect example- people bring something to share, nobody is really counting, and if there is any competition, it is usually to share more, not less. Circles of friends are existing 'gift cores' and they can actually be visualized. See to the right a map generated from my facebook friends, where people are grouped according to their interconnectedness, reflecting the degree of inherent trust of these existing networks- of course, OWS now dwarfs any of my other groupings!
"US Government Treasury Bonds back the dollar, our human social bonds back our currency"
With time banks, while hours are indeed counted, everybody agrees that their time is of equal value, so you really have a mix of qualitative and quantitative, leaning more towards the former. In practice, time banks have shown themselves to be particularly useful for a certain set of tasks - child care, legal assistance, language lessons, home repair, respite care, account management, writing, odd jobs, office/business support, tutoring, driving instruction, delivery- but not so much for other tasks which are dependent on more specialized and/or exclusive skill/knowledge sets.
With Mutual Credit/LETS, while there is indeed a hierarchy of valuation, it exists within a transparent accounting environment, and qualitative aspects such as experience, expertise, and even number of dependents/general existing overhead can be accounted for when numerical values are assigned to goods and services, which is usually by complete job and not labor-hour, thereby partially maintaining the incommensurable nature of every person's value. Presumably, there would be some need for valuation of labor-hours, if only as a starting point for building job estimates, but the ratio from highest to lowest would not exceed a certain ratio, most likely 4/1 ($80/$20), as that is a guideline most worker cooperatives follow when it comes to wages, while still distributing surplus equally.
Finally, the dollar environment, by way of crowd funding (and possibly local [paper] currency, i.e. dollar proxy), is where the cooperative interacts with the external world, and assumes no inherent trust, so pricing reflects that and follows what is garnered on the 'open market', and the idea is to bring in as many dollars as possible and convert them into value internal to the system. Essentially, it could be thought of as dollar cleansing, or even alchemy, as the value they possess in the external world is fleeting and based on exploitation, they can still be converted into meaningful, restorative value through strategic, intentional investment in projects with a long-term vision for health, beauty, and permanence.
In conclusion, what is perhaps most important to emphasize is that trust, or lack thereof, is built on familiarity, and it is the proposition here that familiarity is achieved most reliably through the sharing of real space. While virtual space offers a significant potential for building familiarity, it will never contest sharing actual air. Underlying the above abstract spheres of reciprocity are very real architecture- spaces that people share, in body, with a regularity that varies in quite direct proportion to the deepness of the familiarity inherent therein. When it comes to the willingness to share risk with forward-looking investment of resources, this becomes an even more important factor. For a more in depth discussion of this fundamental aspect, please see this blog post.
 Local/Regional Organic Food Infrastructure Investment Priority- Cultivation, Delivery, Preparation, Compost [repeat]:
"A wider view sees agriculture as having to fulfill at least three tasks:
- to keep [wo]man in touch with living nature, of which [s]he is and remains a highly vulnerable part;
- to humanise and ennoble [wo]man's wider habitat; and
- to bring forth the foodstuffs and other materials which are needed for a becoming life."
- E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful
Our primary energy input is food, and water is our medium- no other work is done until our bodies are nourished and hydrated, so this must be the foundation of a humane currency system. As such, pooling resources to build and fortify this infrastructure is the first priority of Permabank. As such, the name proposed for the actual currency is ‘LOkcal’ (Local Organic kilocalorie), 'Lk' for short. The whole cycle 'from soil to compost and back again' will be supported, with different operations covering various components, including rural and urban farms, regional transportation, wholesale, retail, restaurants, and food 'waste' collection networks. The whole system could be thought of as a giant networked CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), but with much more diversity and availability owing to its networked nature, not to mention having a 5-10 year outlook involving thousands of people rather than one of 1-2 involving a few hundred.
The idea is to first connect to the bounty of existing work being done in the Food Justice movement in the New York and surrounding food production region - such as by Brooklyn Food Coalition, Freedom Food Alliance, Added Value, Brooklyn Rescue Mission, Just Food, GrowNYC, Community Markets, Clean Plates, Slow Money NYC, Park Slope Food Coop, Greene Hill Food Coop, 4th St Food Coop, Flatbush Food Coop, Brooklyn Grange, Bushwick City Farm, Wassaic Community Farm, Community Cooperative Farms, Moon in the Pond Farm, among many others - and circumscribe the network with its own ethical currency. Of course, wherever Permabank is deployed, it will connect to that local/regional network.
Of course, there is a continuum from there, citing Maslow's hierarchy of needs, although I would hesitate to necessarily call it a hierarchy, as they are in reality experienced concurrently and it may not be useful to place ones over others. However, I think it is indisputable that we cannot survive without food and water, unless you know how to sungaze. Also, the only way to build the plurality of available goods and services such that the currency is fully useful is by 'priming the pump' with that which is always immediately useful to all. So then, let us move on to what we do with the energy we get from the sun, whether by way of food and water or directly. ; b
 Expansion and Stabilization of Cooperative and Peer Economies:
Building on top of these food foundations, projects being put forward on the site will be ones that promote values of permanence and resilient economy. Cooperatives are group organizations that manifest values of participation, transparency, and consensus-based decision making- whether they be for the purposes of production, habitation, or procurement of goods and services. Peer Economies reflect the same value, but for those who are more suited to individual production while still meaningfully integrated into the community, and these people often still share collective physical spaces in Coworking situations.
Of course, each individual is essentially a project in and of themselves, so we must start with meeting the immediate needs of participants in the movement, of which there are presently many, with special emphasis on those working on the first project of OWS- occupation- this fact has been manifested in the widely used hashtag #needsoftheoccupiers on Twitter to address direct encampment requirements (see graphic). Beyond that, there are many people, including myself, who while not truly homeless and not occupying full-time, have dedicated themselves more than full-time to the movement and are sacrificing opportunities for paying work to continue this effort. As such, we find ourselves losing our apartments and barely scraping enough together to pay for basics like food and phone bills. So, before we start addressing project needs, we must address those of individuals in order to bring people to at least a minimum level of subsistence. These needs will be expressed on individuals' profiles and exploitation will be prevented by total transparency of support received.
That being clear first, there will then be a long term emphasis on projects' and individuals' desired inputs which are supported. One of the main issues I have seen with alternative economies platforms is that they focus on inputs (wishes, needs, wants) and not outputs (gifts, resources, offers)- I suspect because they are presently known, whereas the latter are by nature future oriented. Outputs are always only estimations- how things actually play out are never fully predictable, which is why there must be more flexibility in how they are assessed. This makes development of systems that take this into account much more difficult, which is probably why they have not been developed as extensively. To accommodate this uncertainty, a mix of qualitative and quantitative measures is vital.
 Project-Based Resource Raising Organization:
As people have their respective fields of interest and this has manifested itself in the formation of 'Working Groups' at OWS, it is through the vehicle of discrete projects that work actually gets done. More often than not, the most useful projects are interdisciplinary, meaning that they include aspects that WGs currently represent separately, such as accounting, media, direct action, tech, outreach, food, sustainability, caucuses, etc., so it would be helpful to liberate them from what have become the bureaucratic structures of WGs. This is not at all to devalue the WG structure, it is rather to allow them to evolve to become even more conducive to 'getting shit done'.
Rather than being decision-making bodies, they can be that of knowledge and skill building, where meetings become composed of report-backs on ongoing projects that members are currently working on, with other members providing feedback and advice for better execution from the perspective of that WG's particular field of interest. Perhaps they could 'co-opt' the name 'Affinity Group', as that is what they essentially already are- people coming together who share and affinity for a certain subject.
This would be a different definition than the currently emerging one for the same name, which seems to be based more on interpersonal affinity rather than that of a specific project. I believe that this definition is problematic for the same reason that WGs became so- that static hierarchies inevitably form within static bodies of indefinite duration and purpose- in other words, they become ossified. While it is very important that groups have clear borders in order to maintain accountability and effectiveness, it is not ultimately useful for membership to be based primarily on pre-existing familiarity. While familiarity is of course important for a healthy work environment, we should continue the work of pushing the limits of our individual comfort zones, which is what I believe to be the most important work being done in the movement.
This aspect of Permabank cannot be overemphasized- the idea is to create an ecology where individuals are perpetually encouraged to become their fullest selves- in a manner becoming to the whole, not as a pursuit of self-interest. The irony of the present system is that while it purports to promote individual freedom of choice, it simultaneously seeks to reduce the options in the effort to make it predictable, it trying to force economics to be a science. However, it starts with the assumption that fear is the primary root of human behavior, and so it is a self-fulfilling cynical prophecy that has come to fruition in our reality today. We seek rather to expand the definition of self by not relying on systems that have predictability as the highest priority, and trust that love is at least as strong an impulse as we expand the space for people grow as creative individuals- creativity being the ultimate expression of freedom. So, when we draw circles around our groupings in order to 'get stuff done', we ensure that they are always open and flexible and do not allow us to rest on our laurels. As far as the importance of pre-existing familiarity goes- have friends, have people you work with, expand both, and have overlap, but not total eclipse. The idea here is to empower benevolent autonomy.
- [Dicey Troop's ['nodal'] definition of Affinity Groups (copy of twitter string here?)]
Moving on, for purposes of discussion here, projects can be described as being one of two different types- ones that are finite, such as an event like a march, and ones that initiate an entity that will remain indefinitely, such as starting a workers' cooperative. With the former, there is little risk of creating ossified structures, as the project has a clear ending. With the latter, it is a more difficult situation, so there must be recognition in their design that promotes continuous opportunity for inclusion and a deliberate rotation of decision-making responsibility. This is what I am calling 'dynamic hierarchy', and the idea is that, instead of blindly denying the inevitability and usefulness of hierarchy, it places it in a dynamic framework, thereby bringing verticality into balance with horizontality, rather than trying to obliterate it. As is often the case with intentional transformation, the pendulum of change swings too far in the opposite direction and the latency of the denied form always still expresses itself, usually in nefarious ways. We are seeing this presently in OWS with the emergence of leaders unaccountable because the movement does not ostensibly recognize leadership. The only way to overcome duality is to transcend and include. It can be thought of as horizontality on average.
So, as a project is put forward, initially either by an individual or small group, it will seek resource support in many forms, of which money is only one (though the lowliest and most anonymous ; ). This is why I have chosen the term crowd resourcing, as it can contain all these forms, whereas crowd funding and crowdsourcing catch only parts of the spectrum.
- Discussion of sites that already do this in a limited way - ioby, crowdrise, ourgoods, etc...
The basic categories of resources are being called skills, space, and stuff and they can be provided either directly or indirectly (with money being the medium). The idea is to end up with a configuration that uses as few dollars as possible while including the maximum number of people and in-kind donations. Even as the project moves forward into execution, the challenge is further minimize the use of money, to come in under 'budget'.
Finally, it is important to note that under the skills section fall two important sub-categories that should be highlighted here - promotion and education - because of their important relevance in the use of social media to support projects and individuals. Simply taking the time to read an article or watch a video, 'like' it, and pass it on to your social network is an incredibly powerful tool in this time, so recognizing this value is of utmost importance to Permabank. There are both qualitative and quantitative ways to do this that are already highly developed in the social media universe (e.g. Klout) that will be utilized to support projects.
 Generation of internal quantitative currency
Integrated with qualitative currency documentation system must still also be that of a quantitative one. As the current system is only quantitative and we see the detrimental effect this has on modern society, the temptation is to do away with this completely, but that would be a mistake as well, as balance is key to overcoming any duality. The idea is to provide options for participants for how to document input and output, rather than assert assumptions about what is best.
Paralleling the Spheres of Trust framework from above, there are essentially four (4) currency types operating in Permabank- Gifts (G), Hours (Hr), earned LOkcals (eLk), and purchased LOkcals (pLk), with US Dollars ($USD) of course being brought in and converted to internal value, not to be converted back without penalty. "LOkcal" is an acronym for "Local Organic kilocalorie" to directly reflect what is the base of the Permabank quantitative currencies--food energy--as all LOkcals are essentially food futures, akin to shares in a networked CSA cooperative. It is backed by what fuels humans, while the $USD is essentially backed by what fuels machines, aka "fossil hydrocarbons".
Now, proceeding through the spectrum from Gifts to US Dollars, we go from predominantly qualitative to predominantly quantitative valuation, but there being always the existence of both aspects. While we of course do not put any number value on a Gift itself, there still exists a record over time of the number of them given and received. With Hours in a timebank, we obviously count how many folks have put in, but a very strong qualitative aspect remains in that there is a strong enough network of trust that allows people to feel comfortable equating the value of their time, foregoing differences of experience level, expertise, credentials, and the like. With earned LOkcals, these differences are in fact quantified in compensation structures, allowing for what could be called consensus pricing whose fairness is ensured by a collective commitment to fully transparent accounting practices, and where every "earner" is a de facto part of the worker meta-cooperative that comprises and defines the membership in Permabank. Last, purchased LOkcals are just that, are available to anyone who wants to buy them with $USD- this is how "external" supporters engage with Permabank, the membrane condition, if you will. Purchase of these units do not entitle purchasers to participate in the internal decision-making processes occurring in Permabank, beyond the gesture of the contribution itself (the only qualitative aspect remaining in this Sphere).
Unitization of promised future production will become the internal quantitative currency, either merit (credit) or commit (debt) - Dollars brought in through crowd funding, and immediately converted to pLk, are then essentially converted to eLK with the first earning event (e.g. I build a table, someone compensates me with either these ‘purchased’ units (pLk), presumably at a higher rate to account for the fact that this would be a taxable event, or with their ‘earned’ units (eLk) in which case it could conceptually be non-taxable, as all ‘earners’ would be de facto members of a coop in which everybody owns everything and so no transfer really occurs, with everything received being essentially member benefits) and a portion of those dollars land in the pooled fund that are first invested in ‘vitals’- food/water security, shelter, etc to begin with (and so on, considering Maslow’s pyramid)- with the decisions regarding investment placement being shared by members of the meta-cooperative to the degree individuals care to participate in any given one, following the iterative nature of the consensus-making process, where stakeholders self-select and the expectation is not full agreement of every member, but only granting of consent after having the opportunity to have their voice heard. Witholding of consent is an action only to be taken in cases of serious ethical or safety concerns, and the witholder must be willing to leave the cooperative if the decision still proceeds without their consent. SO, the eLk units essentially become ‘backed’ by the future output of these strategic investments, alongside the 'commits' of all individual 'earners'. Lastly, there could also be an internal conversion rate between eLk ~ Hr.
- Income Diversion- People 'set aside' portion of compensation in Lk, being still able to use within system, while dollars are freed up for long term strategic investments (which directly serve to build flow of currency by creating entities that have to redeem it to amortize their [interest-free] debt).
- Mutual Saving (If we are to save ourselves, we must save together.)
- Why negative interest is punitive and should therefore not be used to prevent hoarding. The forestalling of greed must rise from within, not be enforced from without. A commitment to transparency is a first step, and a willingness to grow in public follows. Cooperation/Transparency vs. Domination/Secrecy.
Labor, seed, land, soil, equipment, etc, either by direct contribution or paid for by zero-interest loans, are documented as input, and future output, 'disbursed directly as product counted in Lk-e', makes those initial contributions whole, with portions of the surplus being re-invested, saved, and voluntarily given back to the collective, at the discretion of the project stakeholders, with the understanding that everything is transparent and reputation is being built. Exploitative behavior would be there for everyone to see and would presumably guide future interactions with these stakeholders- 'Fool us once, but not twice'.
"Over/Under Flow" feature:
First, we will look at the 'front-end' scenario, meaning the input a project requires, then we will look at the 'back-end', if it has quantifiable output:
Let us say that project "A" settles into a place where it still estimates it needs $10,000 to achieve its goals. Let us also say that it manages to exceed that threshold and collect $12,000, but then manages to beat its estimate and only spend $8,000. We would then have a front-end surplus of $4,000. What happens to this money?
Take another project "B" that ends up in the opposite scenario- it estimates it needs $10,000, collects only $8,000, and spends $12,000- that's a $4,000 shortfall. How does this get covered?
Possible scenarios for project "A":
- It returns the $4,000 to donors
- It gives it to the pooled fund, anonymously or not, but with no quantified recompense meritted
- It gives it to the pooled fund and receives Lk-e 4,000 in merits, which are then distributed to 'earners' on the project for their work on it, to be used or gifted back at their discretion.
Possible scenarios for project "B":
- It returns $8,000 to donors.
- It receives $4,000 from the pooled fund, but with no quantified compensation committed
- It receives $4,000 from the pooled fund and issues Lk-e 4,000 in commits for its food, which can be redeemed by any 'earner' when it is harvested.
All activity is part of qualitative record.
Now, for the output:
Say project "A" is a big direct action, so while it presumably will lead to an increase of attention and general support for OWS, i.e. qualitative output, it does not have directly quantifiable output, although it will hopefully lead to more general interest that results in all projects getting more support. Say project "B" is a project to build a aguaponic hoop house, in which case it presumably has a future directly quantifiable output (food) that it can commit.
For now, I have held the description to flow of dollars, for simplicity's sake, but we can also have quantification of earners' commits as well... Also, a question: To what degree do external donors have option to secure future output?
Also, there is the possibility that, in order to correct for advantage borne of privilege in this environment, conventionally higher dollar earners will get compensated at their eLk rate regardless of what they can get in dollars. Of course, there will be a qualitative record of this happening which that earner can choose to show. For example, say a lawyer gets $500 for a certain service in the 'real' world, but only charges eLK 300 in the cooperative sphere for the same service, he will get that regardless, and recognition for contributing his higher external earning potential to the collective.
The basic idea is that projects seek to become catalysts to raise surplus support to build collective savings that can be put towards projects external supporters don't find as worthy of their support, due to whatever bias or chance. Surplus output from investments is also collectivized at the reputation-cognizant discretion of the producers.
- PaySwarm (an RDF 'schema' for currency) integration- as actual digitally unitized currency protocol- translate terminology: 'vendor', 'buyer', 'asset', 'license', 'listing', 'authority', 'contract', 'payment intent', 'promisor', 'promisee'
- Or, 're-boot' of Bitcoin (though built on [CPU capacity] scarcity-based model) could be used to secure quantitative units.
- Decision not to use incentives, prizes, etc, like many crowd funding platforms do, as this perpetuates 'give to get' mentality despite dis-proportionality of 'transaction'. However, if the incentive is HNWI donor match, then this could work.
- To use or not to use 'all-or-nothing' funding goal thresholds- leaning away from this- But still will essentially use tech developed for this, but with consensus approval being the final trigger to release of resources to project, with a 'soft' (a moving target due to crowd resourcing model) threshold being that which brings it to the community initially.
- Also, in that vein, break assumption that donations should be tax-deductible.
- 'Passive supporters', (i.e. those who only donate things or money) to have profile as well- perhaps by airing and fulfilling their wishes as well, they can become more active in their participation.
- Concept of 'win-win' events- e.g. "We need march pacers and will train them"
- Re-emphasis of the fact that all 'commits' (debt) are amortized directly with product, by way of redemption of Lk-e, such that all investments are essentially purchase orders, or equity and distribution of surplus is at description of steward of given 'capital', while being fully transparent- importance of re-investment and saving is respected, give-back (to go into gifting echelon) is voluntary but forms reputation.
 Consensus Based Approval Process:
To embody the core values of OWS, projects will be expected to undergo a consensus building process as they are being formulated and put forward for external support. 'Earners' will be encouraged to ask clarifying questions, make statements of support, express concerns, and offer friendly amendments as the project's resources are being gathered. During this team building stage, only project stakeholders will have a voice in the formation of project definition- in other words, if someone wants to affect its development, they must commit to working on it (no criticism from afar allowed). Most likely, as this functionality is a whole application unto itself, it will work as a plug-in of a separate application that is currently being developed by others in OWS, the name of which shall remain undisclosed. : )
Then, once their configuration is complete, the decision to release the 'externally' committed materially resources to the project (i.e. from non-'earners') will be tested for consensus among all 'earners'. A withholding of consent by any 'earner' will be evaluated by the rest to determine whether it constitutes and 'ethical, moral, or safety concern' based on the explanation given before it is recognized as a 'block', in which case it is up to the project proposer(s) to decide move to modified consensus, with the required threshold being no lower than 2/3 (the exact proportion to be determined at launch of Permabank by initial membership consensus).
There is also the option that the above process be integrated with RSSfeed systems, such as Twitter, where each project has its own unique handle and the various response types being denoted by hashtag (e.g. #clarifyingquestion, #statementofsupport, #expressionofconcern, #friendlyamendment, or the like). Within the fields provided for these on the project proposal page would be aggregation of this feedback.
Regardless of how it is done, there would definitely have to be finite time periods for collection of this information, so as to ensure reasonable efficiency.
 Application Programming Interface (API) relationship to multiple existing applications (Dana Skallman):
As the desire here is to build on top of the existing platforms for sharing economy and not attempt to replace them, the idea here is to develop an API that can cull information and activity documentation from as many places as possible and collect them all on one profile. Of course, as each of the communities that these platforms represent have their own existing membership agreements, sharing across platforms would be limited to the degree those agreements allow, but the point is to at least have a space where a full picture of a person's participation in the sharing economy is displayed. Activity among Permabank participants could be displayed separately or intermingled with this activity.
 STILL TO COVER/INTEGRATE:
- Idea that process of documentation in itself promotes accountability- "You only need documentation when you don't have it"
- Discussion of language choices gift/wish, resource/need, offer/want, merit/commit- why 'barter' is a misnomer
- Removal of zero-sum quid pro quo in human relations- give to give, not to get.
- Production of original media content (e.g. articles, videos, photos, music, RSS feed, etc) not to be forgotten as vital and valuable 'product'.
- Projects Project List
- Radical Transparency of disbursements enabled by dedicated debit cards for each project with transactions posted automatically to project page (Matt Lepacek)
- A word about "security culture"
- Discussion of real space coming first, with the virtual only acting to augment- monthly social events?
 Core Values
- Mutual Aid
 Older Content
permabank.net v1: By having participants list and describe their 'gifts' and 'wishes' (or 'offers' and 'wants', in another parlance), making this information easily searchable, and providing the means for direct contact, the hope is that the bonds created by giving will strengthen the community that uses it. Additionally, each person's profile has a field called 'my story', as everybody has one to tell, and that is what makes them who they are. Also are fields for 'inspirations', or things that people love about their life, family, friends, the world, OWS, etc., in other words, what's liberating them, and 'gripes', or things that people detest, in other words, what's enslaving them. This platform promotes and enables the idea that every participant is unique and has value to contribute to the whole:- something that our current economic system most certainly does not.
The three global categories for gifts and wishes are 'skills' (what one does) 'space' (where one does it) and 'stuff' (what one has).
 Devin Balkind
Economic Ecosystems Presentation
 Constraint Satisfaction Processing
If we are going to be using the skills of volunteers we need a way to easily organize the human resources that we have available. Some volunteers are only available at certain times, there are people that want to attend meetings but cannot do that, and perhaps we will have people that offer time-sensitive donations and goods that we can expose within this system and hook up to time-sensitive needs or to arrange meetings at a time that satisfy the most users. This is a pretty well solved problem, and there are plenty of packages that we can build into the PermaBank either as an external service (if it is computationally expensive).
 Alpha User Points
- Farms are groups that can issue a specific type of point. See Farm information.
- Super admins can limit the amount of points a farm can issue over a period of time.
- Farms issue points and badges to farmers.
- Points are units of biomass.
- Badges acknowledge a certain trait or skill.
- Points can be traded farmer to farmer and be 'cashed out' at the store.
- The store sells currencies as well as goods and services.
- Badges can provide access to spaces, among other things.
- Profiles can be accessed through QR/RFID/etc.
- Information can be segmented so different information can be accessed through different reader mechanisms.
- Virtual Mart
- Alpha User Points
- Sync through CiviCRM?
 Mutual (Multi?) Credit
Mutual credit systems allow people to create credit/debt to record their exchanges with one another. A popular example of mutual credit is time banking. When one person serves another for an hour, a credit is created for the provider and deducted from the customer. The net balance of all credits amounts to zero, enabling the system to work operate without a central authority.
We're considering whether or not we want give users the ability to create different types of mutual credits. In this instance, people could create different credits for different types of work. For example, someone who knits sweaters could earn crafting credits and exchange them with a doctor who earns medical credits. This might allow us to transcend the debate in the timebanking community about whether or not everyone's hours should be worth the same amount of credits.
 Asset-Backed Notes
The General Assembly receives a tremendous amount of donations in goods, services and legal tender. The gifting platform will allow the GA to articulate precisely what goods and service they want donated, eliminating waste and enabling more efficient gifting to take place. The issue with donations of legal tender (aka USD) is more problematic. The USD is a monopolized currency that's designed to benefit those with connections to the central banking establish and penalize those without those connections. Many people within the Occupation Movement view the widespread use of USD as a primary problem within our economy. How can the GA use USD's without encouraging their circulation?
One possible solution is for the GA to purchase productive assets with the legal tender it receives, and then "unitizes" the asset's production into a security upon which it can issue notes.
A simple configuration:
- GA receives $10,000
- GA places $10,000 into it's online store.
- GA issues 10,000 notes and gives those notes to working groups.
- Working groups can trade those notes with anyone who accepts them.
- Anyone can use notes to purchase USD from the store for a 1 to 1 value.
The more groups use the notes instead of the cash, the more value is generated with that $10,000.
If the GA is interested in improving the environment, making sound investments and facilitating exchange between it's participants, then I suggest a slightly more complicated usage configuration.
- GA receives $10,000
- GA purchases $5,000 materials to develop it's acreage and issues it's own notes.
- Notes can be redeemed at in a variety of ways:
- USD directly from the PermaBank.
- Items from the PermaBank gallery.
- Enterprises that accept the Occupy Credit Card, Bitcoin-based cryptocurrency, or physical monies.
- Rights to future GA land production.
The note's value is backed by a permabank.
- PermaBank holds liquid assets and rights to the acre's future production potential.
- PermaBank redeems notes for cash from GA-approved working groups and co-ops.
You can earn notes by offering your gifts to the GA and it's community.
- Gift your presence to GA land.
- Gift your time to GA-approved working groups.
- Gift anything you want through the permabank.net platform.
 Credit Card Rewards
We can create a credit card rewards program by partnering with a credit union to issue a credit card. The rewards program would allow us to analyze the purchases of card holders and provide them reward points (redeemable in the GA's store) when they make purchases at affiliated businesses. Businesses could become affiliates by meeting certain criteria such as environmental friendliness, local supply chains, accepting GA notes, etc. The rewards program would issue GA authorized notes that could be redeemed in the store and/or at affiliated businesses.
This program would allow anyone who uses a credit card to interact with the alternative economy, expand the network of businesses that accept GA notes and allow people who have to use credit cards to do so in a more movement aligned way. It is also a practical compromise with the mainstream economy. Some people don't like compromise. The issue is certainly worth debating.