Value system

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A, OVN is an agent-driven system of production that provides a value experience (see more on value). It can be represented by mapping internal flows of tangible and intangible assets or resources (i.e. valuables) within an organization, community or network (sources, transfers/transactions, sinks), towards the creation of some forms of benefits, optimized to keep agents engaged in the organization and with its mission. It is understood as a complex dynamical system, a living system, with an emergent structure (not imposed). We are looking at autopoetic or self-organizing systems.

The flows of valuables (see value stream) is structured by protocols, rules (ex. governance), infrastructure, current-sees, incentives, etc. These things are context dependent.

In short, the local conditions in which a production system is embedded determines the possible value systems, which determine the organizational structure required to make production efficient and productive.


About value

Open the value page.

Important processes

The value system must take into consideration the following processes that involve valuables:

  1. the creation of valuables (tangible or intangible) to which agents attribute value, through their creativity and labor, individually and/or in collaboration, Also, production.
  2. the transformation of valuables, to which agents attribute value, into other things. Ex: transforming wheat into bread. Also, transmutation.
  3. the consumption of resources in the process of creation or transformation.
  4. the destruction of resources in the process of creation or transformation, a process distinct from consumption, i.e. a process through which things simply vanishes without any positive effect on the OVN.
  5. the infusion/injection of resources from pools that are not strongly connected with value system [ex. grants, donations, free participation/help, other networks’ assets],
  6. the exchange or distribution of resources (could be conceived as products or services), among agents or within a larger ecosystem, and
  7. the sharing of resources among agents, a process in which there is no change in ownership - see property.

Agents live value experiences in relation to all these processes, anticipating future benefits.

Value systems and socioeconomic organizations

Some value systems are in most part abstractions. A cult or a sect is built on a value system. Apart from tangible benefits from being part of a tight group, a large part of the value system is purely immaterial, subjective, even illusory. The same can be said for a corporation or a cooperative, there are tangible benefits flowing through them as well as intangible benefits, real and imaginary. The benefits or the negative effects that people get from engaging in different endeavours, either properly understood or not (in the case of deception), can be very real and tangible.

Value systems have a large influence on socioeconomic organizations. Throughout history, societies have been structured by their underlying value systems. For example, the transition from feudalism to the industrial era, characterized by an increase in economic freedom and democracy, was greatly influenced by the discovery of new means of production (steam engine-driven manufacturing) relying on new types of resources (coal and petrol). The new possibilities in production coincided with new means of distribution (steam engine-driven ships), and exchange systems (currencies and markets), new institutions (the corporation, financial institutions, clearing houses, insurance institutions), new social governance (parliamentary democracy, republic, etc.),, etc.. In short, these new means of production unleashed huge transformative processes.

Recently, archaeologists uncovered forgotten civilizations dating from the bronze age, that were politically highly centralized, with powerful armies. Historians believe that the socioeconomic structure of these civilizations was greatly influenced by the nature of the raw material (copper) and by the processes required for its extraction and transformation into goods (bronze tools and weapons), which were the main source of their development and wealth. These communities had to defend the rare and prized resource (copper), and the knowledge and know how required for its transformation, therefore they had to build large armies that could only be effective at that time under a central command. Moreover, turning copper into bronze tools was very lobar-intensive. These communities had to develop ways to sustain large numbers of workers.

Abundance or scarcity of resources, the amount of work required to extract and to transform raw resources into valuable artifacts, the efficiency of the production process, the efficiency and costs related to the distribution of products, the lifetime of the product, all these factors and others determine the structure of the value system and in turn determine the set of relations that get established between agents within the value systems, who try to reach a compromise between optimizing their value system and improving their lives.

The Internet era introduces a series of new possibilities that operate profound transformations in our global value systems. Talent (skils) goes from scarce to abundant, because it is now possible to reach almost everyone across the planet, with a computer and a connection to the Internet, for information and knowledge-based work. Open source development, crowdsourcing (including crowdfunding) have been made possible by this connectivity without spatial and even temporal constraints. Moreover, some Internet applications increase the availability of material resources by facilitating sharing. Examples: Airbnb, BlaBlaCar, and all other ventures part of what is improperly called the sharing economy. The OVN economic model builds on these new possibilities and tries to put them to the best use for humanity.

Value system in relation with OVN and OVNi

An OVN requires contribution accounting and exchange systems, a fair Reputation system, a Role system, a Feedback system, an Incentive system... see more on Infrastructure.

All these sub-systems are necessary to incentivize activity, to induce tight self-organization within the OVN, to focus activities according to priorities, and to render the network creative and productive. These systems are designed for a fractal structure, a networks of networks that can actually span the entire global economy. The architecture will be adapted to fit with the diaspora paradigm, see Value Networks - moving forward

Another important aspect of OVNs is the commons and the pool of shareables, which are pools of shared resources (tangible and intangible, material and immaterial) within the network or with the world, governed by some rules.

The agent (affiliate) is the most important element in a value network. Agents can be individuals or different types of organizations, including networks. The agent is represented by an avatar, an individual profile.

The value system determines the structure of an OVN. Types of value networks.

The value system must be compatible with a contribution-based compensation model. It must account for tangible, as well as intangible valuables. The value system is able to capture economic events in context and to follow their effects on the economic system from their creation to the point of consumption of different products and services that have been influenced by these events. It must be capable of taking into consideration many small and sporadic contributions, and to incentivize such contributions, in parallel with long-term commitments.

The value system is designed to be scalable to global proportions and to operate in a swarm mode, i.e. to extract benefits from a long-tail distribution.

The value system is a fractal structure, a network of networks in which valuable assets flows uninhibited and individual contributions are tracked.

The value system organizes flows.

Agents in the value system are individuals, any type of organization, even those organized as decentralized networks.

Example of contributions are: time spent (doing R&D, manufacturing, office work...), financial contribution (to purchase materials in the context of a venture, to fund infrastructure development and maintenance, etc.) ; material contributions (sharing of a tool, equipment, space, etc.); social capital contribution (opening access to a new market), and others.

The system takes into consideration various type of resources (like time, materials, physical and virtual spaces, ...) under various forms of property.

See more on the contribution accounting system.

Important links

Ideas to build on

Information and knowledge are now abundant (very good ideas are still scarce tough). Bringing in or finding the right idea in context, when needed should be rewarded. In other words, academia should be for generating ideas. The OVN has an economic aim, ideas are only good in context, if they solve a problem. The idea can be generated on the spot, by a spark of creativity, or important. Either way, this is an economic event and it should be associated with some form of reward.

See this paper

See also


First published on April 29, 2011, edited by Tibi, Kurt, Ishan, Ian, Francois, and Steve. See original doc, last modified on Oct 14, 2012 before content was moved here. If you contribute to this doc make sure you respect Content rules.

Work on the value system is hosted on github. We are using REA (for Resources, Events and Agents) designed by Bill McCarthy of Michigan State University (See more on Bill McCarthy’s website). See a prototype HERE.