John Boik: Advanced Economics – Economic Direct Democracy and Open Source Everything

03 Economy, 11 Society
John Boik
John Boik

It seems we are in basic agreement on the problems that society faces.  You rightly emphasize the coercive nature of income inequality.  And, IMHO, you rightly emphasize the role that open-source, open-data, open-design, widening-commons, etc. must play in a better, functional society.

Please allow me to explain the strategy behind my project. In a nutshell, the strategy is to develop a parallel financial–economic–business--social welfare system, at the local level, that complements and competes with existing systems. By system, I mean the code, policies, standards, and procedures needed to encourage more cooperative and democratic economic behavior.

The proposed system is called the LEDDA framework.  A LEDDA (Local Economic Direct Democracy Association) is a membership-based, community-benefit association. Individuals, businesses, nonprofits, schools, and other organizations within a community can choose to join a LEDDA, if they desire. The LEDDA, in turn, is designed in such a way that member incomes rise and become more equal over time, and jobs are created. In the computer simulation discussed in my book, mean family income rises about 260% over the 28-year simulation period (adjusted for inflation). Unemployment drops to 1%. Every member family sees an income gain over starting levels. In effect, a LEDDA pays people to participate.

The LEDDA framework complements existing systems in numerous ways. For example, it diversifies a local economy, making it more resilient. And it increases the volume of dollars circulating in a local economy.  It also competes with existing systems. For example, it competes in the realm of ideas; the LEDDA framework brings new meaning and purpose to economic behavior. It views money in a new way, as a tool for democracy. It also competes in the marketplace; a LEDDA funds new, locally owned businesses, which compete with distantly owned ones.

Execution of the strategy is scientific and methodical. The first step, for which progress has already been made, is to develop computer models of currency flow within a LEDDA. The purpose is to demonstrate that the concept is sound and has merit. The models will be expanded over time to become increasingly advanced and sophisticated. The next step is to develop the framework—the code, policies, procedures, and standards.  After this, the framework is tested in a scientific pilot trial in one or more cities. Once the trials are completed, the framework is offered to the world via open-source and open-commons licenses. As new LEDDAs form, all are networked together and cooperate in trade and other matters.  Each successful LEDDA makes success of the next one more likely.

Importantly, the LEDDA framework supports and benefits from what you term the “open-everything” approach. This is partly how a LEDDA becomes self-replicating. IP is shared in a pool, for example. Also, many of the new locally owned businesses that are funded are “distributive enterprises” (businesses that use open-concepts and seek their own replication in new regions, see Chapter 10 of my book).

I have developed what I consider a “nuts-and-bolts” engineering approach to answer the question, How do we get from here to there (a more sustainable, secure, happier, more democratic society)?  I view the LEDDA framework as encompassing a practical, step-by-step strategy. By complementing and competing with existing systems, the framework slowly usurps the dominant paradigm, replacing it with one based on transparency, cooperation, and shared purpose.  It spreads because it works—because it demonstrably increases incomes and improves lives. If all goes well, the LEDDA framework will one day be viewed as a positive, disruptive technology, in some ways similar to the way the Internet has been a positive, disruptive technology. People don’t open the Yellow Pages book anymore to look for a phone number—they look online.  They do so because the new way is more efficient, it works better.

We are now working on forming a global partnership of academic, civil society, government, business, and foundation groups to usher the LEDDA framework though the development and pilot trial stages. I welcome any interest that you might have in being part of this effort. For more information, and to download a free copy of Economic Direct Democracy, please visit

See Also:

John Boik: Principled Societies Project – Local Economic Direct Democracy Association (LEDDA) Framework

BOOK: Economic Direct Democracy: A Framework to End Poverty and Maximize Well-Being.