What are DisCOs and why do we need them?
DisCO stands for Distributed Cooperative Organization, a way for people to work and create value together that’s cooperative, creates commons and is based on feminist economic principles.
The DisCO’s cousins, the Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) promise to allow people to exchange economic value, to pool resources and form joint-ventures, without control from the centre, in ways that were impossible before blockchains.
However, the core concepts of DAOs and crypto-economic mechanism design — incentives, penalties and secrecy — are not a natural starting point for most people forming new ventures together. Neither, funnily enough, is money. So what are DisCOs and why do we need them? DisCOs are an approach to forming Distributed Open Cooperatives. Let’s take this one track at a time.
- Why co-operatives? Because we need to inject democracy into our economic systems (and politics and society in turn).
- Why Open-Value Cooperativism? Because we need to expand our economics and accounting to include care for living systems.
- Why DAOs? Why distributed? To maximize radical and emancipatory cooperation across national borders (on- and off-chain) while operating within the laws locally (at least until we can change them).
The famous anarcha-feminist Emma Goldman said “ If I can’t dance, it’s not my revolution!” DisCOs throw open the door and invite whole new tribes to join together with the crypto-economists on the dancefloor of planetary-scale cooperation, to co-create new moves and movements for working people, and to form common pools of care and value.
Co-published with the Transnational Institute (TNI), If I Only Had a Heart: a DisCO Manifesto is a deep dive into the worlds of the blockchain, commons, cooperatives, AI, feminist economics and more. At 80 pages, it’s a “longread” text that will take about an hour to read.
To learn more you can read:
- Last Night a Distributed Cooperative Organization Saved My Life (A short overview of the DisCO Manifesto)
- Rage Against the Machine and Science Friction (Video presentation and podcast)
- The DisCO Manifesto review (In-depth review with extracts)
Stacco Troncoso, Ann Marie Utratel, Ruth Catlow and other members of the DisCO team will be at several events talking about the manifesto in the coming months. The next events include:
- Friday, November 15th, Amsterdam, Holland: Beyond the Blokechain: The CryptoFeminist Agenda
- Monday, November 18th, Boulder, Colorado: MEDLab University of Colorado Boulder
- Thursday, November 21st, San Francisco, California: The Red Victorian
- Monday, December 2nd, New York, NY: Civic Hall
DisCO workshop image from Pixelache Helsinki by Cindy Kohtala