A Response to @dan's "Proof of Good Governance."

in response •  10 months ago

I was initially going to respond to this post the traditional way- using the comments section. However, given the length that this reply is likely to be, I do not want to risk it going unread, lost amidst a mountain of spam. I have decided to respond in a post of my own, and hope that it will find its way to @dan. If any of you can help with that, it would be greatly appreciated.



A community’s ability to self-govern can be judged by the safety of its members. When you can leave your doors unlocked and not worry about breaking and entering, then you know you live in a solid community. When you can leave your wallet unattended in a public place and not have it stolen, when you can leave your bike unlocked, then you know you have good governance.

The impossibility of theft you allude to in this closing sentence is, based on my observations, the intended future. The security of all property will be facilitated through the union of blockchain technology and "the internet of things." Add a unique identifier that grants one control over "the internet of their things," and all of a sudden we live in a society where no one can steal anything.

I may not know how to read or write code, but I can conceptualize distributed ledger technology through what I have seen and what I have read. When doing so, it seems nothing short of obvious that the digitizing of the world's assets and the protection of property rights was an intended function for the technology.

But such a security-based society would not be a shining declaration of good self-governance as you claim. It would be an example of the governance of property alone. I could not say it would be self-governance, because when 90%+ of the users of a technology do not understand how it works, they must then place trust in a third party(the developers of the tech), which would make said third-party(or whomever they serve) the true governing body. I could not say it was a good example of governance either for the following reason.

Governance, in its simplest terms, is the managing of people. It is one of the most easily observed facts that humans are highly suggestible creatures, and far too often victims to conditioning from our environment. I would suggest that any type of governance worthy of being described as "good," ought not to be a form that conditions the governed to believe that humans are innate thieves and that every piece of property needs bio-metric encryption just so that your neighbour won't steal your kid's bike. A belief in the capacity for others to act negatively will ultimately lead us to our own capacity to act negatively-- and all too often that will manifest as genuine actions that perpetuate the cycle of suffering we continue to plague ourselves with.

Good governance ought to be about eliminating aspects of society that lead to adversarial or perverse mindsets, and replacing them with productive mechanisms that are conducive towards evolving the human consciousness to a point where we can see one another as being on the same side. Then there'd be no desire to steal from your neigbour, for you would understand it to be the same as you stealing from yourself.

Some people worry that absent anonymity, people would self-censor out of fear of community reprisal. There is a legitimate need for anonymous publishing, but it has no place in a community that is distributing financial rewards from the public purse. Steem is an exercise in massively decentralized community governance over community funds. Transparency and accountability is the only disinfectant that can prevent abuse.

There is no reward curve or solution to abuse of community funds until a proper dispute resolution system and identity system is put in place.

Only is an incredibly strong word, and in this case, I believe it to be an erroneous one. I have multiple working ideas that have popped into my head since opening this paragraph, and I expect there are a trillion more that remain to be thought of by others. In the case of Steemit, and in the case of society as a whole, the security measures you propose do not address the root problem.

Steemit was destined to suffer abuse given the way it is set up. From the SP to the rep, to the trending and hot page, the gamification of this site leads the user to see everyone else as opponents that they need to do better than. Sure, this might encourage people to post more and increase activity on the blockchain, which is great for steem(and for large STEEM holders), but it is not great for creating a shared mentality of cooperation. Such a shared sentiment would empower relationships between community members and the passion people feel for STEEM and Steemit would be directed towards the community as a whole, rather than our individual wallets, achievements and pending payouts.

The case is no different for society. The economy is dependent on our belief that its survival of the fittest. The resulting culture will always want more, and will be willing to use abusive means to get it, for they are measuring their success against everyone else's. If either Steemit, or society, or any micro-economy decided to structure their environment in a way that promotes the idea of succeeding together, joining, merging, and expanding teams to better ends, and community bonding, I suspect that the number of members within the resulting community who would want to swindle the others would be considerably lower, and because there will be a stronger connection and better means of communication between the remaining members, they will be in a better position to deal with the few who are unable to adhere to a cooperative society.

Also, I really do not like the sound of a dispute resolution. I suppose I am yet to investigate what you mean exactly, but in this context it sounds like yet another middle man, and middle-men will forever be susceptible to coercion of one kind of another, or by "hacks."

I will be moving toward transparent blockchains with strong identity, good governance, and a commitment to protect property rights while disempowering those who would launder profits from digital kidnapping. We must take responsibility and hold others accountable for indirect acts of aggression. Hiring someone else to steal for you (knowingly buying stolen goods) is just as bad as stealing yourself.

I am happy to walk into this future with you, that is, as long we first establish what rightfully belongs to who before implementing such secure and seemingly irreversible measures. This thing you propose is helpful only for those who have spent the last century or more acquiring every piece of land and property on this planet. They have used deeply immoral means to impoverish billions of people in their quest to own the world, and now, thanks to your proposal, they will have an honest system of commerce which can guarantee that no one will ever use the methods they used to retake what they have accumulated.

Now this might sound radical to some, but bitcoin and STEEM are as worthless as paper money when you truly think about it. Even gold and silver only have value because we believe they do, but they are just rocks... that's all. Bitcoins are just numbers. I have nothing, so this doesn't really effect me, but I could have 1000 bitcoin in a secure wallet right now and I would still not approve of this idea. Because while it may protect my bitcoins, it couldn't protect their perceived value, which could disappear at any time. But, what won't disappear is land, homes, buildings, parks, etc. And what about the rights to the water supply, energy grid or internet? That is not perceived value, that is value. And the criminals who have exploited the people for far too long to acquire the rights to all of these real assets, will be the ones who have consolidated their ownership of the world should this vision you propose for blockchain technology ever be realised, which unfortunately, I'm sure it will.


Thanks in advance for any resteems to help this find @dan.






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Can we rely on people to solve people problems? Can we rely on technology designed by people to solve people problems created by technology? I don't think there is proof of good governance, but there are certain signs when there isn't good governance. I know that many people said that Steemit is not and cannot be a utopia and so we shouldn't aim for something like that. Perhaps that is the wisdom of not doing more than what needs to be done?

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Sounds more like the advice of a coward who is too afraid to fail, or a fool who knows not their own power. It is also the very same sentiment that has prevented us from protecting ourselves from their accelerating agendas. This erroneous belief that so many of us hold- the one that tells us the possibility for a better world belongs only in the mind of the naive- is just another part of our conditioning. I would love to see us overcome it.

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So would I, but most of my attempts have failed so far, so I am not so much of a coward as someone who is butting his head against a very hard wall and can't find a way around it (yet)... not doing more than what needs to be done isn't the same as doing nothing, but simply not overdoing something, like nudging instead of elbowing someone.

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I admire your conviction. I almost lost mine recently, but it seems to have been replenished by a sense of urgency. If you ever want to discuss ways of getting through that wall, I am open to it. Though I believe we would first need to agree upon which wall it is that needs demolished. Many want change, but we all have different ideas about how to go about it.

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Definitely, I suppose Discord might be the place to do it?

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Yes. I was supposed to make a new server anyway, but had a busy weekend and forgot. I will send you an invite later.

The core concept that I've been thinking of over the past few days, as I get more exposed to block-chain, its implementations and the emerging technologies, is that it's implementation is partially a product of its design (the way the environment is set up to distribute 'value' to users and stakeholders and the corresponding level of 'power' that these people have), but primarily the community that it attracts.

At the inception of a great idea, the crowd that will be attracted will be those that believe in it's future and can envision it's impact and benefits in the time to come. As the system evolves it's strength is initially determined by those that are powering it (the great minds that conceived the idea, the developers that help the evolution of the source code, and mind you both parties need to continue to do that for the platform to achieve greatness and maintain it) and it's value is enhanced by the users that begin to adopt it.

But as time goes by, and a great idea becomes a great product, it goes mainstream and attracts people from all over the world. It's adaptation changes. It begins to mirror basic human values and morals. When a system is scaled up, there needs to be some sort of power source that regulates and empowers it. There needs to be a governing body that moderates issues and helps prevent bottlenecks. Note that I do not mention centralized or decentralized when I say power source and governing body. I am just saying that it needs to exist.

As a system scales larger and larger I think that even those systems that were designed decentralized begin to centralize. And the reflection of the dominant human morals and values begin to show much more than before.

The solution to this is a global revolution in spiritual growth. If human's as a species migrated towards self reflection and ascend in their level of consciousness as a collective, and come to realize that collective growth is much more potent that scattered individual growth, then and then only will any well implemented and large scale system be truly successful by any ethical and moral standards.

The status quo of human morality is like broken shards of glass, all they can be used for are gashing flesh and bleeding life, bring those shards of glass together and fit the curves and edges together and a blurry picture begins to emerge. Work on it as a collective to glue the pieces and polish the surface and we can start seeing the blue in the sky and the beauty of our own images. It's a colossal task, one that I hope mankind can achieve. But it all starts with our own small broken piece of glass.

Philosophy aside, I think that when people are educated to understand the power of emerging technologies (and especially those with a non technical background), we can start taking a step in a positive direction. As time goes by we can perfect which platform/system gets the architecture right. But unless we educate, we can not change the fundamental nature of human beings.

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Basically, anarchy doesn't work.

Steemit is a test case in anarchy and shows the ultimate end, with large share holders controlling over smaller ones.

Whomever has the biggest stick, makes the rules.

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Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed response. I do agree with a lot of what you said, including that it would be a great change to see people having extensive knowledge over the many technologies that life in the modern era demands we use. But my question to you is, what about those who cannot learn? Either through a simply lack of desire to trouble themselves with the effort, or perhaps due to a limited mental capacity, there will inevitably be those that will never understand some of the complex tools that we use in the modern day, and I would be surprised if the most intelligent person on this planet was able to learn the intricacies of every technology used by the average man in one life time.

I would call it progress when we are able to trust in the technology that society presents to us, without having to worry whether it is serving an ulterior agenda to that which we have been told. In this world, however, this is a thought that any who are paying attention would think when hearing of a new piece of tech to be released.

Also, I do agree that for the purposes of order, some centralization, at least in terms of communication, would have to exist. I have no problem with this. I am by no means an anarchist, but I believe that the power in society should be transparent, not obfuscated as we see in the world today.

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I agree with what you are saying. I personally enjoy learning the intricacies of something that grabs my attention, so I follow that approach, and luckily I have some exposure to technical knowledge that helps me understand how things work under the hood better than those that are non technical. Someone else with more tech knowledge than me would know even better.

But I also believe that people without a technical background can understand how things work, and if they somehow gained that knowledge it would benefit them in using it better (which is not necessarily what happens, because there are those who understand a system and naturally begin to manipulate it to their individual gain).

As for the people who are not at all interested in learning more about tech but just use it and are simply happy using it, which I may incorrectly assume is the vast majority of people, there is nothing wrong with that. But we may find that the usage of the technology begins to deviate from its intended purpose.

My point being , I'd like to operate with the hope that if people of all backgrounds are educated to the workings of a platform (inner intricate details or just a broader picture, whichever suits their learning style), it would encourage a more positive application of the technology. But that is ideal, and we can see in reality what happens when knowledge is misused (with the current state of steemit).

I agree with your measure of progress. A system where people adopt the technology and platform without having to worry about ulterior motives. I wish to be alive in an era when humanity moves towards that direction. Designing such technology is up to brilliant inventors, helping it evolve is up to the community that supports it. But unless there's a fundamental shift in societies obsession with self interest, even the most ideal and constructive of environments can be tainted with insidious organisms. And to change that I feel that people need to change at an individual level and then come together as a collective.

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Can I ask what level of technical expertise you are on in regards to blockchain technology? I have none at all, though I have just started to learn, but this is going to be a very long process and the chance for me to develop my many, many ideas will surely be gone.

I have been thinking about getting a few similar-thinking minds together, each with differing skillsets, and sharing my ideas, and then expanding on them together and hopefully bringing some of them into fruition.

Would you be interested in something like that? I share in your perspective, and after much consideration, I have decided that the most important factor when pursuing projects with others is that you have a shared ideology. So I would like to start surrounding myself with such people, especially ones who are interested in creating something profound while the opportunity is still available.

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I am a novice programmer (have been learning for just above a year now, so just the bare bones). My level of technical expertise is not very high. But I have basic understanding of the structure of various programming languages, and also basics of algorithms and data structures. So that helps me peek and prod at block chain technologies. And I read a lot to try and piece together parts of the puzzle. If you're interested in learning, go to the coursera website (it's a website that offers a lot of MOOCs, massive open online courses) and search up cryptocurrencies/blockchain. I'm doing one called Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies, which is offered by Princeton University. They are free of cost.

I would love to work with like minded people on something that would help bring a product into fruition. I think that's an excellent idea. But at the same time the disclaimer I have is that I am also a learner at this time, I am no expert!

But I think collaboration is an excellent idea. And I agree with you on coming together with like minded people and creating something fruitful! I enjoy your posts and would love to chat with you more on this.

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Do you have discord? I will invite you to server, though this idea is very, very fresh, so I haven't made one yet, and have only spoken to one other person about my plans to create something.

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Yes I do have discord. I'd love to contribute, and see where it goes from there.

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I'll be in touch tomorrow once I have created a server. Still have a few things I want to finish up tonight. Do your best to enjoy the rest of your day/night and I will speak to you tomorrow.

Even gold and silver only have value because we believe they do, but they are just rocks... that's all.

Sorry, gold and silver have value in that they can be used for other things than a currency. That is the reason, when the lights go out and the computers are useless, gold and silver will still work as materials for creating things of use or for a means of value for trading goods.

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I will admit that both are useful in terms of their efficiency in conducting electricity, but the amount we would need to fill this demand in society would leave tons left over if there was no other use for them. What gold and silver are mostly used for is decorative purposes(which is again only perceived value) and as a store of value(again, perceived value).

You can argue that everything has a practical value in one way or another, if not many others. Even paper money can be great for wiping your arse, but that doesn't mean that its value amounts to as much as we have attributed to it.

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Silver is good for using a utensils for eating as well. Gold can be pounded and molded.
Gold also protects against solar rays.

They are very useful base elements.

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Silver is good for using a utensils for eating as well.

Hands are sufficient for one to eat, especially if it is real food they are eating.

I really don't know why you are even arguing the most irrelevant part within my post. This seems like a waste of time because it's nothing to do with the issues that I was actually addressing in the post.