hope-wiki.com - What’s the idea of that?

This is just my name for all the information about and links to the practices of holistic political economy that are happening all over, right now. Like Part 2 Assess – Examples of what good looks like – In concept it is bigger, better and as near comprehensive as its possible to get - but there are important caveats  Note: hope-wiki July 2020 . The concept is still to get all the information that can be captured online – data and people loosely coupled by their experiences of just doing it.

Ok so why build it?

People need to know that there is an alternative and that it works so that they can be inspired by it and try things for themselves. Putting all this experience in one place means that it becomes part of the shared knowledge base that the human activity system draws from. One that will enable knowledge of the alternative to spread and gain support; it will encourage and inspire those who are starting out on all sorts of joint ventures, co-operatives and social enterprises.

It will be one of the foundations for a new counter culture that supports collaboration and contributions from everyone, that gives a sense of solidarity and confidence to all its practitioners (so that, coming back to Friedman, these are the ideas lying around and remembering Buckminster Fuller, we are building an alternative source of power not attacking an existing one.  Friedman, Preface

This should be nothing less than the window into the alternative culture of the 2020’s, in historical terms it will provide the equivalent feeling of solidarity that unions, and other organisation represented when they set up the Labour Representation Committee in 1906. Sadly, with the 30-year defeat of the left and the destruction and weakening of its institutions and ideas we are just about starting from scratch. There are islands of good practice some of which I have pointed out in Examples of What Good Looks Like, but we have a long way to go when it comes to the strength of the ideas in the culture, a vision to inspire and the steadfast belief that an alternative is not just possible but will be better (because it can be shown to be so). After 30 years of neo-liberalism too many people have lost their belief in the alternative, we don't have the plain language, analytical tools or self confidence to articulate it.

This can be remedied by the use of information and network technology; activists with a shared vision can link together purposefully to gain critical mass, to build a powerful cultural base from which holistic political economy will grow. Knowing you are not alone is inspiring and empowering.

Remember, hyperspace is infinite, private companies may put a fence or pay wall round some of it and invite as many in as possible, but unlike the frontier there is always more available, we can set up camp and grow from there.

What does it look like?

What it physically looks like is a design matter for the builders, but I can describe its characteristics.

It needs to be massive - an Open Source, Community Contributed Knowledge Base of all the alternatives that are known to be out there and working

To borrow some retail jargon – it’s the one-stop-shop for the alternative political economy that will eventually replace our current stunted form of representational democracy and our current irresponsible form of capitalism

It needs to collect all examples of the emerging alternative, to have entries for all co-operators and collaborators, to have links to their sites. It needs to have descriptions of their their ideas and experiences, and allow thenm to be shared. it needs to show that practicalities of their organisations and what they learned as they developed. 

It should be as ambitious as possible; a cross between Wikipedia, Facebook, Brokering and Kickstarter but different to all of them Note: Rediscover the Idealism of Technology

  • HoPEdia is not about the sum of human knowledge (as Wikipedia is). It is a subset of human knowledge that also contains stories and lived experience – but like wiki it allows anyone to register to make entries and make or edit entries 
  • HoPEdia is not about social media networking of individuals (as Facebook is) it is a network of small, shallow hierarchy, groups and like social media it enables practitioners to get in touch with each other
  • HoPEdia is not about crowd funding (as Kickstarter is) but it could help co-operate start up’s. The Hive, part of The Coop already provides a service here, but it might have a start-up role
  • HoPEdia is not a job bidding site (like TaskRabbit is) but it could provide an exchange for lodging requests for help and there is no reason why services (that is labour) should be free
  • HoPEdia should have some characteristics of the killer app; a killer app is one that starts small and by its usefulness takes off with exponential growth (killing the old process along the way)  
  • HoPEdia would not start as a supplier of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) but it might move into that space when its resource base has built up sufficiently

How will it get built?

The logic of my arguments means that this would surely be set up as a not for profit, possibly a co-op of some sort; one that has the task of building and running the platform. it needs to be a sophisticated organisation. It would probably have a Board with members of the HoPE Association organised in such as way as to protect its mission and objectives with a workers-cooperative at the operational level. A useful model may be the Wikimedia Foundation. 

This is from the Wiki Foundation

“The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit that hosts Wikipedia and our other free knowledge projects. We want to make it easier for everyone to share what they know. To do this, we keep Wikipedia and Wikimedia sites fast, reliable, and available to all. We protect the values and policies that allow free knowledge to thrive. We build new features and tools to make it easy to read, edit, and share from the Wikimedia sites. Above all, we support the communities of volunteers around the world who edit, improve, and add knowledge across Wikimedia projects”  Note: Wikimedia Foundation

So with a bit of adjustment we can get to something like this…

The HoPEdia Foundation is the non-profit that hosts HoPEdia and our other holistic political economy projects. We want to make it easier for everyone to share what they know about cooperation and collaboration in politics and sustainable business. To do this, we keep HoPEdia and sites fast, reliable, and available to all. We protect the values and policies that allow holistic political economy to develop and thrive. We build new features and tools to make it easy to read, edit, and share from the HoPEdia sites. Above all, we support the communities of volunteers around the world who edit, improve, and add knowledge across HoPEdia projects.

If a way can be found to add value perhaps there could be some monetisation, e.g. consulting with co-ops and social enterprises, helping other co-op start-ups, advising on business conversions to a co-op model, providing resources, service work based on the reuse of the common platform code base.

Source software provides a living to people based on services on top of the free code - perhaps that’s part of the answer - that would become the co-op's challenge, it does not all have to be solved at once.

So, volunteers with deep technical knowledge, and funders with deep pockets, please get in touch so that we can form storm and norm…

How does HoPEdia relate to The HoPE Association?

In the previous article I described the need to get organised and proposed The HoPE Association which would have a resource base to capture and curate best practice as well as undertake research, and education and training.

Both are needed and they are separate, different things. Not only does this keep it simple and focused, it also means one could struggle and the other thrive;

  • HoPEdia is a big and hairy beast that needs a dedicated effort with lots of technical complexity
  • The HoPE Association is a people thing and can live with its own simple site that can be developed with an off-the-shelf template.

HoPEdia would contain an entry for The Hope Association and HoPEdia would have a link to The HoPE Association site. The Foundation that build and runs HoPEdia would be affiliated to the Hope Association as they have some shared objectives. Being a contributor to HoPEdia may as a default, give associate membership of The HoPE Association but we’d have to recognise that some organisations may wish to opt-out and remain totally a-political even though listed.

Both HoPEdia and The HoPE Association will grow and evolve along with holistic political economy, they could start out separate and eventually merge, or not, since neither exists yet, job one is to get them up and running.