Does collective ownership = public good?

I have question for the group.

Should a corporation that is collectively owned by consumers and producers be considered a public good?

I’m struggling to think of an organization as a good. Organizations supply goods. If people can benefit from the goods without paying for them, then they are public goods.

Thinking of an organization as a good is a struggle. Investor biased capitalism has siphoned the bulk of the economic good into the hands of a select few.

But what if the organization were owned by the public. Truly owned by the public. Not the farcical IPO use of the word public.Or the socialist state controlled use of public.

If a collectively owned corporation were started One that is owned by the consumer and producer as platform peers. Would that be considered a public good?

Imagine an acre of land. If you own the land, it means you have the right to decide how it is used. You can decide to build a house or plant artichokes.

What if the acre of land was owned by you and 99 other people? It’s not like it’s illegal for numerous people to own the same piece of land. But would you all vote on how the land should be used?

Wonderful. What I am attempting to work through is if the physical ownership attributes are a necessity in the digital domain.

In the online world, since a single resource can be used by multiple people, does ownership apply as strictly as in the case of physical goods?

If AWS were collectively owned, and each user could call on the resources for their individual uses, and if the proceeds from the platform’s use were shared by the users and producers, would ownership be the major issue it is in physical property?

Would the collective ownership make it more like a public good than a private one?

I appreciate your feedback. The opinions in this community in particular is very important to me.

Let’s use this website for example. It has a forum, which we are currently using. I’m willing to bet though that the decision for this forum to be added to this website wasn’t made by everybody in this community having the opportunity to vote for or against a forum. Instead, the decision was probably made either by an individual or a committee. Same thing with the decision to use this particular forum software, as opposed to say the phpBB forum software.

The phpBB community actually uses voting to prioritize its development. You can easily join that community and vote for your favorite development ideas.

Everybody can freely use the phpBB forum software, so it’s a public good. And anybody in that community can vote to help prioritize the software’s development.

The question is whether voting is better than spending at prioritizing things.

That is a very good question. It seems more pertinent to the type of governance and less about type of ownership. It is a question that is very important to the platform I have in mind.

The question I am mostly considering is more economic than political. In an economic sense, should a collectively owned corporation be considered a full fledged public good or is a new category required falling between private and public. Something with some of the strengths of a capitalist corporation embedded in a collectively owned organization. Or does this all fall in the description of a cooperative?

In the economic sense, a public good is any good that is subject to the problem of free-riding. For example, national defense and environmental protection. The free-riding problem is the justification for compulsory taxation. If taxation was voluntary, then people would pay less their true valuations of public goods, so they would be under-supplied.

Walmart, for example, isn’t a good. It is an organization that supplies goods. As far as I know it only supplies private goods. You can only benefit from the products it sells if you spend the required amount of money on them.

The Red Cross isn’t a good either. It is an organization that supplies goods. But unlike Walmart, The Red Cross supplies public goods, such as disaster relief. People can benefit from the disaster relief whether or not they help fund The Red Cross.

This is extremely helpful. I just happened onto Radical Markets and have yet to finish it.

I am beginning to sense that what I am building is not so much a public good but a common good. Speaking to your examples Walmart is definitely a private goods organization. The Red Cross seems to fall into the category of a common goods organization. I see your points.

Perhaps I am applying all this public, private, collective goods framework in an inappropriate way. Those words are applicable to ownership, but not directly applicable to the organization as an entity.

The platform I am developing only awards tokens to members based on participation and contribution to the community. Ownership tokens cannot be purchased, they can only be earned. I think that resolves the free rider issue.

What brought me to RadicalxChange was a desire to build a mechanism that would allow funding for communities and apps while prohibiting disproportionate ownership by early and wealthy members. I was thinking about quadratic funding without knowing that term at the time.

I hope more people add comments here. Based on our conversation I would have to answer no to my topic question. Which leads me to my next question, do I need this to be a public good? I don’t think I do. As long as Radical Market theories are applied in a social entrepreneurship for the common good manner.

So… how many ownership tokens have I earned so far?? I’m pretty sure that I should own half your platform by now. Heh.

This means that the terraces of the Champ-de-Mars are ordered first to be built up and then to be torn down. The great Napoleon, it is said, thought he was doing philanthropic work when he had ditches dug and then filled in. He also said: “What difference does the result make? All we need is to see wealth spread among the laboring classes.” - Frédéric Bastiat, What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen

In economics the results actually do matter, otherwise everybody could simply spend their time digging random holes and there would somehow be an abundance of food and other necessities.

Also in economics, other people have to grade your work. Otherwise you’re going to give yourself an A++ for digging random holes. Only I can know how useful your work is to me.

Also in economics, the most effective feedback is sacrifice. If I’m willing to spend my money on your work, then this is credible evidence that your work truly is useful to me.

Arbitrarily limiting the influence of the people in our society who have received the most positive feedback is counterproductive. Of course I might be wrong.

Create three platforms where people rank books…

Platform #1. People on this platform rank books using voting.

Platform #2. People on this platform rank books using quadratic voting.

Platform #3. People on this platform rank books using donations. All the money that is donated will be given to literacy non-profits.

If either of the first two platforms rank books more intelligently than the third platform, then this will be substantial evidence that it truly is beneficial to reduce the influence of wealthy people.

yes, if the means of attaining the most positive feedback is rigged in favor of a small minority then it’s not really positive feedback from the general population. It’s a rigged private feedback game. When the platform launches there is an article titled “What’s eating the world?” you might find entertaining.

For platform governance I’m going a different direction.very similar to what is discussed in this video.

Organizations and ships can both go in the wrong directions. For example, the Titanic went in the wrong direction and so did Polaroid

When customers abandoned the print, Polaroid was taken by surprise. “It’s amazing, but kids today don’t want hard copy anymore,” said DiCamillo. “This was the major mistake we all made: Mac Booth, Gary DiCamillo, people after me…. That was a major hypothesis that I believed in my marrow that was wrong.”

Since Polaroid was in the market sector, the correctness of its direction was ultimately determined by consumers. So why not just let consumers directly steer organizations? How can consumers possibly steer an organization in the wrong direction when consumers themselves are in charge of determining the correctness of an organization’s direction?

Right now car companies have to decide how they divide their limited resources (ie engineers) between gas vehicles and electronic vehicles. Imagine if the division of resources was directly determined by consumers. Let’s take Toyota for example… anybody in the world could make a donation to Toyota either for gas vehicles or for electronic vehicles. How consumers divided their donations between these two options would reveal how they wanted Toyota to divide its limited resources between them.

Naturally consumers aren’t equally wealthy, so some consumers would exert more influence on Toyota’s direction than others. But if you believe that this is truly a problem then your issue isn’t with how organizations are structured, it is with markets in general.

Personally I love markets. I love people having the freedom to decide how they spend their money. I perceive that this freedom is incredibly beneficial. But maybe my perception is wrong?

In my previous reply to you I shared with you a very simple way to test and compare the effectiveness of markets with democracy and quadratic voting. You didn’t address my test. Do you think such a test is unnecessary? Or do you think it would be ineffective?

I watched the Ted Talk you shared. Ray Dalio talked about using a dot system to improve his organization’s direction. But again, since his organization is in the private sector, the correctness of its direction is ultimately determined by consumer choice. If you truly think that consumer choice is inherently flawed, then the platform that you create isn’t going to replace consumer choice with whatever you think is better.

This deserves a more detailed reply than I can add now. I will later this evening.

One thing I will be discussing is The Innovator’s Dilemma. Following customers can lead to the demise of the company and even entire industry sectors. Polaroid and Kodak are superb examples of incumbents disrupted.

Comments on your test later along with my plans for implementing an idea meritocracy as the governance system for the platform are coming.

Regarding following customers…

The real lesson learned was not that that Ford’s failure was one of not listening to his customers, but of his refusal to continuously test his vision against reality, which led to the Ford Motor Company’s failure of continuous innovation, resulting in a catastrophic loss of market share from which it never recovered. - Patrick Vlaskovits, Henry Ford, Innovation, and That “Faster Horse” Quote

Testing your vision against reality sounds like an obviously good thing, but what, exactly, is reality?

Think about the story of the blind men touching different parts of an elephant and coming to vastly different conclusions. Each blind men grasped a different part of reality. Therefore, reality was the sum of their perceptions.

Let’s take Burger King for example. Recently it released a burger with fake meat… the Impossible Whopper. But did they ask you if they needed to supply a fake burger? They didn’t ask me. They didn’t ask most people. Instead, they asked a few people and obviously, based on their input, decided it was a good idea. And now it is up to all the consumers to decide for themselves whether it is a good idea. In this way consumers indirectly steer Burger King.

It’s entirely possible that most consumers will decide that the Impossible Whopper is a bad idea. Therefore, Burger King would have made a mistake. And a costly one at that. Lots of society’s limited resources will have been wasted. Naturally this harms everybody.

Therefore, in order to avoid such costly mistakes, Burger King should allow donors to decide how it divides its resources between real meat and fake meat. This robust input will minimize the disparity between Burger King and reality.

" Clayton Christensen demonstrates how successful, outstanding companies can do everything “right” and still lose their market leadership – or even fail – as new, unexpected competitors rise and take over the market. There are two key parts to this dilemma.

  1. Value to innovation is an S-curve: Improving a product takes time and many iterations. The first of these iterations provide minimal value to the customer but in time the base is created and the value increases exponentially. Once the base is created then each iteration is drastically better than the last. At some point the most valuable improvements are complete and the value per iteration is minimal again. So in the middle is the most value, at the beginning and end the value is minimal.
  2. Incumbent sized deals: The incumbent has the luxury of a huge customer set but high expectations of yearly sales. New entry next generation products find niches away from the incumbent customer set to build the new product. The new entry companies do not require the yearly sales of the incumbent and thus have more time to focus and innovate on this smaller venture.

For this reason, the next generation product is not being built for the incumbent’s customer set and this large customer set is not interested in the new innovation and keeps demanding more innovation with the incumbent product. Unfortunately this incumbent innovation is limited to the overall value of the product as it is at the later end of the S-curve. Meanwhile, the new entrant is deep into the S-curve and providing significant value to the new product. By the time the new product becomes interesting to the incumbent’s customers it is too late for the incumbent to react to the new product. At this point it is too late for the incumbent to keep up with the new entrant’s rate of improvement, which by then is on the near-vertical portion of its S-curve trajectory."

The type of voting you are describing works as long as the customer is always right. It would systematically eliminate the scenario where the costumer tells you what it needs to satisfied but misses out on what I wants to be more satisfied. There are so many advances that happened because an inventor created what the customer really wanted, before they knew they wanted it. iPhone, iPod, personal computers, server farms running open source operating systems, the list goes on and on.

The Innovators Dilemma highlights that basing innovation strongly on customer feedback is a fairly sure way to fail.

Since I’m replying now I might as well cover everything you mentioned in your earlier email. The test for books you describe is a clean example of the voting experiments that are possible in RxC. That sort of thing is what brought me here in the first place. To do the test rigorously you would need a control (maybe NYT best seller list and book reviews normalized to a fixed rating). Then you do the three tests you describe and compare to the control.

I’m taking in a lot of information on radical markets, quadratic voting and organizational governance. This thread is a valuable small part of that. I appreciate your feedback and thoughts.

One more thing. For RadicalxChange to really grow it will probably need to follow a disruptive innovation curve. This is in line with the movements mission to offer alternatives that coexist with incumbents.

But the new innovation doesn’t follow the rules of the existing systems, products/policies etc. And it serves a new customer base, like the unbanked.

I question every assumption I can on a first principles basis. Is 1p 1v best? Is the customer always right? Is scarcity as the determinant of value necessary in the digital world? Is big data the answer to customer intimacy? What can you do with a crypto-currency you cannot with existing fiat currencies?

BTW: Burger King is disrupting itself. Not a bad idea if you think you are in a position to be disrupted by an Impossible King burger chain that serves a small market now but one that will grow over time.

I’m saying that consumers should use their donations to help Burger King decide how to divide its limited resources between real meat and fake meat. Your response is, essentially, that customers shouldn’t decide how fake meat is made.

Right now in the private sector consumers decide for themselves how they divide their dollars between computers and shoes. How consumers divide their money between these two goods reveals how they want society’s limited resources divided between them.

Does this mean that consumers decide how computers and shoes are made? Nope, it means that consumers decide how geniuses are divided between computer innovation and shoe innovation. More geniuses allocated to computers means faster innovation with computers and slower innovation with shoes.

In other terms, consumers use their dollars to help determine how computers and shoes are ranked, and their ranking determines the amount of resources that they use.

Books on the NYT best sellers list are ranked by sales. How differently would they be ranked by donations? How differently would they be ranked by voting?

Economics is all about how resources are used, and potential uses are determined by prioritization.

  • Buying books
  • Donating for books
  • Voting for books

These are three different systems of prioritization, so they will rank the books differently, which means that these three systems can’t be equally good at determining how society’s resources are used.

In your project you want to reduce the influence of wealthy participants. But in theory you should test your premise first. Show us that quadratic voting ranks books better than donations do.

The current economy is all the proof required to determine if wealth and influence concentrated by a minority of super wealthy and institutional investors is beneficial for humanity. Even if the minority benefits in the short term, the risk of violent revolution increases the more the wealth concentrates. I know you know this.

Somehow we are missing each others points possibly? Regarding consumer influence and its benefits and drawbacks, I understand everything you said but fail to see how it relates to creating a corporation for the collective good that is disruptive to the current corporate investor-profit driven system. I think this falls into the category of a good that consumers are unaware is possible. RxC is a political economic solution that people desperately need but have little notion of how it would work and benefit them.

If the authors of Radical Markets believe the solution will be reached by improving the current systems, I guess I disagree with them. I think it will happen via a disruptive alternative that serves disenfranchised members of society. That improves over time until the general population recognizes the new system as more valuable. When that happens, if Christensen’s proofs hold up, the current world order will scramble to adapt but their bulk will not allow them to compete with the new systems. I have read enough of the book to get the sense they feel the same.

I personally have little interest in quadratic voting. Heresy I know, but there it is. :wink: I am very interested in Quadratic Funding. That’s just me and my project. I would gladly participate in another project testing QV ideas.

What I am building is an alternate form of corporation, consumer and producer owned, that prevents investors from driving everything towards profits for a few. It launches in June. Early beta access starts next month for the leadership team being formed. It may fail. It may succeed. But it is happening. I always remember the quote in this video. It keeps me going always.

I’ve been trying to think of a good analogy. It seems like you are saying that a classroom would be steered in a better direction if the students were given more influence, which would naturally mean reducing the teacher’s influence.

What I’m saying is that you might be correct, but it would behoove us to first simply test and compare how differently the students and teacher prioritize things. How differently, for example, would they rank books? Or Youtube videos?

Currently on Youtube kids have nearly the same influence as adults, so it isn’t a surprise that somebody like Pewdiepie has become one of the top people on Youtube. Why do kids have so much influence on Youtube? Well, videos are ranked by the number of votes they receive and how many times they’ve been watched.

How differently would the videos be ranked if the rating mechanism was donations instead of votes/views? Naturally this system would give more influence to wealthy participants. You, and economists like Thomas Piketty, clearly think it is bad for a few people to have so much more influence than everybody else. But there has been no effort to conduct simple experiments to demonstrate that the priorities of the wealthy are worse than the priorities of everybody else.

Economics is all about prioritization. You and I both think the economy has plenty of room for improvement, which means that the distribution of influence is wrong. Where we disagree is that you think that the wealthy have too much influence, while I think that the wealthy are being prohibited from exerting the influence that they were given by consumer choice.

Bill Gates, for example, can’t choose where his taxes go. There isn’t consumer choice in the public sector. Instead, public funds are distributed by committees of people who were chosen by democracy. You say to question every assumption, but have you questioned the effectiveness of this economic system? Have you ever wondered that the problem might not be markets, but their absence?

This forum isn’t a market, we don’t use donations to rank posts. Youtube isn’t a market, we don’t use donations to rank videos. The government isn’t a market, we don’t use taxes to rank public goods. There are countless markets of all sizes missing from the economy. Yet you don’t question this.

In my marrow I know that the problem with the economy isn’t markets, it’s their absence. But I might be wrong, which is why I’m in favor of conducting simple and safe experiments to test the relative effectiveness of different economic systems.

I think you have identified our disagreement. I see an economic tragedy of the commons accelerating since the mid 80s.

Let me step back and think about your position. I don’t think markets are absent. I think they are biased and restricted from the public. But I need to consider your position on this in light of historical lessons from times of high inequality.

Give me a couple days. Nice chatting.