Libro Werde

(This page now also exists in Japanese, Portuguese and Serbo-Croatian)

1. Intro, some key elements

Name of the Distrikt: Libro Werde

Demonym: Libro Werdeoid, Werdoid (& others)


The language of the Distrikt is of Germanic-Latin origin. It has loan words from many languages, borrowed because of their usefulness.

The modern name of the distrikt Libro Werde literally means ”free world”.

But the meaning of it’s original old name is unclear: il Orb Werte. The different possible interpretations include ”the valuable orb”, ”the green globe” and ”circular values”.

Linguists have also noted a linguistic coincidence. In Spanish ”libro verde” means green paper. Green papers are ”published to stimulate discussion on given topics. They invite the relevant parties (bodies or individuals) to participate in a consultation process and debate on the basis of the proposals they put forward."


Libro Werde is an identity and a community. It consists of overlapping communities, rather than only a unitary Distrikt. It has its own land, but it also has a diaspora. Many Libro Werdeans are living in the other Distrikts.

Libro Werde contains overlapping communities of action, communities of practice, communities of interest, communities of purpose, and communities of inquiry. In general, most Libro Werdeoids have in common a wish to experience rather than just exist .

Movement, curiosity and progress are defining characteristics of the culture of Libro Werde. A community of place also emerges, and it enriches the life of the people. There is pride in being a Libro Werdeoid. Or a ”Weirdo” as the name is sometimes twisted by opponents.


Libro Werde is inclusive. If you feel that you are a member, then you are a member. There is no scrutiny or gatekeeping, except in some cases of civil law, commercial law and criminal law. You are also free to leave at any time. Both mentally and physically. No declaration of exit is necessary.

Libro Werde is a high-trust, low-hierarchy, low power-distance society. This increases information flow and exchange of ideas. This in turn increases innovation and thereby competitiveness. People are not afraid to speak up about anything, because they are rarely ridiculed. New attempts in business, technology and society are encouraged. Failure is seen as a badge of honour. It is added to one’s list of accomplishments. A valuable learning experience, and a sign of courage. Failure does not usually result in shame.

Many schools of thought thrive in Libro Werde. Science-based thinking is dominant. The scientific outlook is not dogmatic. Instead of rigidly anchoring thoughts to unchanging paradigms, a metaphor of a sea-anchor is used. The sea-anchor represents the common sense thinking of the Libro Werdoids. The sea-anchor’s long chain allows for quick movement within its reach. It slows down movement beyond the chain’s reach, but doesn’t prohibit it. Common sense prevails, but it is considered scientific to be open to the unknown.

Libro Werde is affluent, in the sense that few inhabitants are hungry or poor. For those unable to do conventional work, and for those who wish to channel their energies otherwise, a safety network (welfare system) guarantees basic necessities and medical care. Education at all levels from kindergarten to PhD is paid by the state. The content of the education is guided but not censored, nor heavily controlled by the state. This system enables any individual to devote their energies to creative and mental activity, without having to worry about survival.

Identity as a Libro Werdeoid is not mutually exclusive with membership in other groups and Distrikts.

2. Psychosociology

One key aspect in Libro Werde is a shift which has happened in awareness. This means that most societal, economic and technological initiatives in Libro Werde are driven by a segment of the population, which has become “unstuck”. This means unstuck in their ways and in their thinking. These are crucial changes, on a mental and intangible level.

“Unstuck” means this: the “old ways of thinking”, “old conventions”, “old social contracts” from past decades and centuries are seen as artifacts that have served a purpose in the past. Some of the old things are still useful today. Some will continue to be useful in the future. But there is not much feeling of nostalgia. The “old ways” are not automatically taken as norms to be aspired to.

Libro Werde is a society and a population in transition. It is relatively similar to a small, early 21st century northern hemisphere nation-state on Earth. The basis of the political economy is liberal democratic, social democratic, or techno-democratic. Depending on the perspective.

  • There is a psychological price to pay for innovating, and for discarding old things. Creating new things inevitably also means destruction of the old system. Or parts of the old system. Belief in rigid systems and values can bring a sense of safety and stability. But the price of this is freedom. The easy safety of rigidity and solidity is not unlike an infant craving for the attention and care of a parent figure (physical or metaphorical). But while getting stability and care, the infant is then also at the mercy of the the parent’s whims. One has to endure the pain of giving up easy, simplistic psychological safety if one wants to be free. Free to exlore the potentials of the world. This is the psychological leap, which many Libro Werdeoids have accomplished. It is what enables the existence of the Distrikt in its current form.

  • Most Libro Werdeoids have gone through such a process of relinquishing the wish for rigid, restrictive type of stability. They have arrived at a new equilibrium. In this new balance they don’t rely on external support (the state, the traditions of society, parent figure, or something similar). Instead, they see themselves as free conscious actors. They are no longer landlocked in restrictive mental valleys. They have become sailors and divers, in a vast ocean of possibilities.

  • Some of them have arrived at their new equilibrium via philosophy. Others via zen-like meditation. Others simply see the rationality of it. Others were born to intellectually inquisitive families. Some have been persecuted or discriminated against. Some have experienced danger or trauma, which in the end enabled them to look at things from new perspectives. Some have gone through a personal crisis, and from the crisis they have obtained the insights, which they needed to become unbound to the old.

Libro Werde has evolved into a society which actively eliminates inertia and is vigilant about not relying on unnecessary legacy systems. On the other hand, those legacy systems which function well are kept and maintained. There is a rational process of decision making. This decision making system takes into account numbers, feelings and empathy. The process of decision making and eliminating societal and mental inertia takes a lot of effort. But Libro Werdeoids think it is crucial. So that they are not sleepwalking into the future.

The potential of human development is manifold. The languages of conventional economy and social science cannot adequately describe the possible future paths. Not without restricting human creativity. But having progressive views on human development, and rejecting traditions, are not prerequisites to live in Libro Werde. Most kinds of views are tolerated. Variety is seen as a key to innovativeness. Many political and social conservatives also live in Libro Werde. Some of them are local, and some are immigrants from other Distrikts. But the driving force of Libro Werde’s success is an intellectually curious, discontented, partly even nerdy population. They prefer experimentation to safety. Some Libro Werdeoids are even transhumanists, but the majority are not. They can be described simply as lovers of innovation.

3. Models of cooperation

Group work (or swarm work) towards shared interests is a basic mode of operation. Fabric of the Libro Werdeian society. People’s roles in work, groups and social settings are relatively fluid and transient. If needed, one can have several overlapping identities simultaneously, and one can switch between roles.

Inclusiveness is the norm in Libro Werde. In many other societies gatekeeping and exclusion is often the default mode. In those societies you must prove or qualify yourself in order to belong to a group. In Libro Werde you are a member if you FEEL that you are a member. It is also cool to be a member. But you are also free to do your own thing, be indepedent, and stay away. Your choice is respected.

The starting point for this policy is not an ethos of group-hugging. It is the logical fact that the more is included, the richer ideas and resources become. Plurality and variety increases the propability for the creation of new, fruitful combinations of methods, initiatives, activities, technologies and businesses. This works especially well in an environment of high level education, growing level of automation, and when technology and skills are abundant.

Competition can be good as a booster, and a catalyst of energy and efficiency. But competition is not dogma which has to always be followed. Close mutual cooperation, instead of competition, can be more effective. Depending on the situation.

  • A concrete example: Libro Werde organises many hackathons to boost ideas and combinations. There are incentives for top performers, and prizes for winners. But the “losers” are not excluded either. Their interest and passionate energy is harnessed by including everybody who wishes to contribute to the winning projects. Or to continue their own projects after the competition. Most contributions are collected and recombined, to create even better results later. Ideas and knowledge are not wasted. Instead the knowledge which has been generated is recorded, cultivated and recombined. Information is nurtured. All the while care is taken, in order not to censor or manipulate information.

Whatever works well, is usually freely and actively shared. Best practices are not kept as secrets for small circles of people. Instead, results and knowhow are generally shared. This is because in general, the “cake” will become bigger for everybody if information is shared instead of hoarding it. (A concrete example to be added here)

Different interest groups are helped to organise their activities with tools of group work, and other organisational tools. (A concrete example to be added here)

Different interest groups are helped to federate their actions too. Those who see benefit in overall coordination, can join larger entities (groups). (A concrete example to be added here)

Concrete tools

Organising tasks

Methods of service design are used on many levels of society, to make cooperation smoother. Larger aim and large projects can be broken down into smaller tasks. Even microtasks. There are several practical tools, methods and services, which are routinely used and developed further. The tools enable a workflow, where knowledge intensive work is divided into smaller tasks effectively.

Contributions and the economy

People can volunteer their time and efforts for free, in which case their reward can be simply the involvement in creating something useful or great. Their names or nicknames can be mentioned as contributors. Or they can elect to also receive credit, in the form of tokens. The tokens can be used to buy things or services. The tokens can also be lent and borrowed. A general ledger of tokens and contributions is kept. Several backup copies exist to safeguard the system. In the economy, the token system exists alongside and complements a more traditional money system. (There is more text on this in Part 2.)

Delegating

Methods of delegating work and responsibility are used. And the methods are continuously developed. These methods take into account personal psychology and motivations, as well as group dynamics. One keyword is empowerment. People are mostly delegated with responsibility, trust and autonomy. Not controlled with commands and coercion. Giving trust elicits trust and spontaneous contribution. And keeps the high-trust society moving.

Loops and timekeeping

In Libro Werde, time is also designed. Design methods are used to create cyclical activity calendars and cyclical workflows. These enable a responsive work mode. For an outsider it looks as if the Werdoids were loosely organised, and imprecise in organising their work. But it is a conscious choice. Options are kept open and things are kept loose. This is done in order for the most suitable, and the most efficient solutions to emerge organically.

One of Libro Werde’s overarching paradigms is the Loop. Instead of straightforward, straight line extension into the future, feedback loops and reiterations are often designed and used in all kinds of activities. This is reflected in the Werdoid word for ”project”.

  • The word project comes from the Latin verb proicere , “before an action” which in turn comes from pro -, which denotes precedence. Something that comes before something else in time. And iacere , “to do”. The word “project” thus originally meant “before an action”.(Wikipedia)

  • In Libro Werde vocabulary, the word used instead of project is dumject. It comes from the Latin dum for ”during, whilst in the process of, until”, and iacere , ”to do”. Therefore: ”during an action”.

Circularity or loops do not mean stagnation and slow progress. It’s the Werdoid way of getting things mostly right, the first time around. And where problems and mistakes arise, the dumject self-correction system is there. Already available and in action.

This way of progressing is manifested in concrete things such as the calendar. The Werdoid calendar is a spiral. It progresses in the third dimension. It is not a two dimensional circle which would return to its starting point.

Combining of interests and some history


The Werdoids have created a system of swarms, and communities of interest and purpose. And various forums where their energies and activities are channeled well. Discussion forums and databases of knowledge are woven together, into a user-friendly framework (or a flexible cluster) of content and interfaces. This supports research, business and societal activity in real time. This is the backbone (or exoskeleton) of their efficient innovation system.

An early version of this system were the radically open (for the era) discussion platforms loosely based on the Discourse system. These platforms were set up on ”the Internet”. (The Internet was the networked system of global communication, which is traditionally considered to have started at around 410227200 Old Werdoid Time).

These “Internet” discussion platforms flourished around the planet Earth, with varying levels of success. Some were created by startup entrepreneurs, and by corporate businesses. Others were coral-like amalgamations of different topics, projects and communities. They came together in various ways and at various occasions, and then dispersed again. Sometimes there was hectic action and heavy debate on the forums, and sometimes there were long quiet periods.

The keys to success were the ability to eliminate geographical distance, and especially the choice of openness and transparency. The best amalgamations of communities became generators of meaning, for their participants. The participants and contributors could satisfy theirs needs for curiosity, empowerment and of community.

At the same time, the communities could achieve meaningful results in transforming society for the better. In several ways which traditional governance could not. The openness and radical transparency of the forums ensured visibility over the Internet. More people kept getting actively involved, even though the topics demanded heavy intellectual involvement. Many of the more closed online communities on sooner or later faltered.

The participants and contributors of these communities realised, that they could bring the openness to a higher level. They created a new service package. This service package consisted of setting up a similar forum for any useful or interesting group of people, who wished to have such a forum. They also taught how to build a community on the platform, and how to run it. A turnkey service. Even elements of entertainment, gamification and audiovisually pleasing content were integrated. This combination made the service a major success.

The various forums which were created in this way, began to cooperate more closely with each other. This was made easier by using similar technical solutions and platforms in each of the forums. User accounts could be shared across the platforms: one could register into one system, and with that registration get access to most of the other platforms and forums also.

Information flow became more effective and timely, as people became more invested and involved in the system. Conflicts also inevitably arose, and there were some groups with opposing interests and beliefs. But overall the system became a flourishing network of innovation and creativity. It had hundreds of large and small nodes over the world. Interests and activities were syndicated in an efficient distributed way. In some cases they were even federated under a central decision making system, when the need arose.

The descendants of these freely associated communities founded Libro Werde.

(To be continued)

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Read that, great work! Will be posting some impressions and suggestions. I am on holiday now, and want to do some Witness stuff :slight_smile:

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I’ve got part 2 coming up, but first need to sort out my heap of notes :grin:

PART 2:

On dynamics of individual and collective action

This part talks about how individual and collective creative action is organised in Libro Werde. Various methodologies and concepts are available, and more are being researched.

Brainstorming as harnessing chaos

  • “Wisdom of the moment”, “Epiphany” and “Intuition” are all names for grabbing the moment, taking a snapshot of the vision or insight. The Werdoids are good at this, and have methodically worked to perfect their brainstorming methodologies. They aim to achieve these moments of insight, to capture a snapshot of the moment and record it. When a vision has been born and recorded, they then work towards achieving that vision, i.e. “backcasting”.

The early Werdoids became aware that they had new technology (the “Internet” and the wave of technologies it enabled) that enabled one to eliminate distances . It also partly eliminated time as many tasks can be completed in an instant, whereas in the past it took days or even weeks (e.g. the electronic “email” vs. the physical “postal service”).

An open, high trust and low risk digital society has a huge amount of resources “floating in the air” . It is possible to utilise these resources for free, or almost for free. One can do this, if one has enough understanding and enough education. Or if one has enough experience to know which elements to choose and how to combine them.

Even after digital communication and computing technologies became widely available, most of the rest of the world still remained within the metaphors and paradigms of the past century. Or even the past millennium: factory, castle, power hierarcies (reinforced and regenerated by language), feodal system etc.

Society and the world was generally seen as a collection large monolithic chunks and domains: humans different from animals, men different from women, the smart different from the dumb, living things strictly different from the inanimate, city different from countryside, one job identity separate from another, production separate from innovation, fields of science clearly distinct from each other etc.

Granularity

The early Werdoids found such a rough grouping of things and domains to be intellectually lazy. They adopted a more granular view of the world.

  • On a philosophical level, this goes all the way to the paradox of discrete vs. continuous. What is the smallest meaningful unit of anything, and what is the maximum meaningful granularity? Are there grades and spectra of things, or are some things clearly separate and different from one another (i.e. discrete)? This can also be expressed in a question such as where one should draw the line where a phenomenon is transformed into another. At which wavelength does yellow colour turn into green, or orange into red? How about when the there are multiple wavelengths and mixed colours, what do we call it then?

Being practically oriented but also nerdy people, the Werdoids are aware of the philosphical implications but also see concrete benefits arising from the increased granularity in thought and action.

The Werdoids are good at improving work modes and they continuously research to improve their work methodologies. Using tools like workflow design, service design and time design, creative and productive energies can be harnessed and used efficiently.

As a rule of thumb, the Libro Werdeans distiguish between two modes of work: the manager mode and the maker mode.

The manager mode generally consists of short, intensive bursts of thinking, communication, decision making and other actions. It is called the manager mode because it resembles the actions of an overworked project manager: quick decision, then moving on the solving the next issue, then the next one, and so on. It is worth noting, that the term ”manager mode” applies also to tasks performed alone. It does not necessarily imply managing people, but rather trying to manage a large number of tasks.

The maker mode consists of longer periods of time doing one task, thinking slower, contemplating peacefully, being concentrated. This kind of working mode is suited for, and necessary for, deeper analytical and creative work.

Microtasking works well in manager mode, when quick thinking and experience-based rules of thumb apply. When the rules are clear. Microtasking is utilised in Libro Werde to make the economy very efficient. Unlike a harsh Taylorist physical production line, the Werdoid creative production system allocates interesting and rewarding microtasks to a swarm of contributors. This is done via a flexible, intelligent and learning system with checks and balances. Virtual teams, swarms, come together to do stuff.

They sometimes have a manager and sometimes they are autonomous. Technology is utilised when necessary, but not overly relied on. The Werdoids have found that offline & online hybrid human-technology systems tend to be efficient. Sometimes a pen and a paper are the best solution, and sometimes a single app uploaded into the nervous grid interface. But more often than not, it’s a mixture of responsive technology and human organisation that has the best flow and good results.

The swarming contributors can also at any time scale up their involvement, so that they are not locked into repetitive small tasks of mind-numbing repetitiveness: once they have proven their skill in simpler tasks, the hybrid system gives them the option to level-up. To take larger, more complex tasks.

Depending on the situation, fulfilling any task is rewarded with advances in virtual rank (like levels in a game), money, or tokens that function similarly to money but are more suited towards re-investment into self development or project development. This is because you can purchase the high quality mental work of other Werdoids with the tokens, and they are obligated and motivated to give you a high quality input. Coupled with high education levels and continuous learning, the Werdean microtasking system works quite smoothly.

Granularity is also about efficent use of space. The boundaries between relatively monolithic domains such as the home, shop, restaurant and office become fuzzy. Yes, private homes exist, but the high trust society enables more flexible use of the spaces. People are relatively trusting and trustworthy, and sharing parts of home spaces is common. Being ever practical and curious, the Werdeans see this as another opportunity to smoothen communication, and to create situations for people to encounter each other and for innovations to arise.

Offices that used to sit idle outside office hours are now multifunctional spaces that are fully utilised for other purposes when not in business use. Many spaces are fully multifunctional, and the work ”office” has lost its meaning. Of course, some business secrets and R&D confidentiality issues arise from sharing, but workspaces and labs are designed in a way that enables co-utilisation. Restricted areas are kept to a minimum, and are well secured so that sharing of the spaces causes minimal risk.

Another aspect of granularity is the efficient use of time , which in turns has implications for ownership. It is much more resource efficient to share than to own.

  • A rough example: One may save some personal time by having all tools in one’s own toolshed all the time, but the tools may lay there unused for 80% of the time. Instead, if the tools are shared between five people, with a super efficient time share system, one fully equipped toolshed with 100% usage rate can serve five people. But if all want to have ownership, we have five toolsheds with 20% usage rate each, which translates to having four fully equipped toolsheds standing unused 100% of the time.

Efficient processing is achieved when reason and passion are regulated well. By regulation, the Werdoids don’t mean suppression and strict channeling, but a system that achieves a healthy equilibrium. Flow can be designed. We can use more brain capacity by efficient planning of loops, activity and rest (for example, train our mind to execute subtasks and “programs”).

Accomplishing tasks by forceful action and diligence can be a short term solution. But the smart and efficient way is learning to let go of a task lightly, and to come back later with a new and different iteration.

Constant learning is ongoing in the Distrikt. People are aware of, and able to utilise their different modes of activity, such as the “manager mode”, “maker mode” etc. Each person is aware of their emotions, and those that have difficulty with it, can take training courses.

At the bleeding edge of Werdoid life design research is a system, in which work is designed in tandem with considerations of human physical and emotional reactions. This results in a collection of activity flows in which work itself becomes meditative .

  • Instead of needing to recuperate after work, the best work sessions become restorative and nourishing for the worker. The contributors come out of a work session feeling more energetic, rested or invigorated than they felt at the start. In different variations of this system, communications between people, teams, swarms and systems are service designed with a guided but natural flow in mind. In this way, teamwork and communication becomes simultaneously an artwork and an enjoyment. Participatory performance art. At the same time it is effective, productive and creative.

(To be continued)

I am trying to put this in economic terms that I understand… you seem to be saying that information is a pure public good, and in Libro Werde it is used as such (no or limited IPRs). This would indeed be a source of efficiency, but it needs to resist to the tendency of greedy people to “digital enclosures”.

This reminds me of the novel Freedom TM by Daniel Suarez (we also reference it in the Sci-Fi Economics Lab wiki). Have you read it? Is it what you have in mind?

These are interesting components of the microeconomic elements of LW, and it makes sense that they would drive some kind of efficiency. Do you have an argument why this happens in LW, and not in our societies? After all, people are the same, both on Witness and here on Earth.

Thanks for the comments. And I’ll reply later after analysis.
Stay tuned - updates are coming soon for Libro Werde.

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Not all information, but more of it becomes freely available when a society is open, education is widely available and valued, and other conditions are met, for example a sufficient level of communication and computing technologies and sufficiently free access to it. A spirit of progress (for lack of a better term) and a level of mutual trust is needed too. Maybe: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_ethic

I haven’t read it. I’ve got a number of thoughts on this topic. Here’s one link which gives an idea. What I have in mind is something like the exchange and stated goal here https://en.horyou.com/spotlights

I think it is happening. We are seeing increasing granularity in peer to peer services (“lend me your scuba gear”), rental platforms, co-working spaces, shared items and so on. If there is trustworthy and trusted technology that can make these exchanges efficient, this kind of activity can grow a lot. Risks (financial, mental, physical, medical… real or perceived) work against this trend.

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OK, makes sense. I guess I would like to see some kind of narrative that pushes the system towards the kind of equilibrium you have in mind. For example, someone invents a “trustworthy and trusted technology” that makes it work. Or the trust element is solved by a cultural shift – for example, a religion of Gaia takes hold among the LW dwellers, or vice versa the adepts of that religion moved to LW, though this is a bit at odds with the openness to religious freedom in the Covenant. In SF, an example of a Gaian almost-state religion is Paul McAuley’s The Quiet War. It’s not economics, exactly, so it is not included in our wiki, but I found it interesting that Earth’s governments (though every bit as cronyist’s and corrupt as our own) strongly encourage (or even endorse, as a proper state religion) Gaian beliefs, because they recognize that, in order to be greedy and corrupt, they need to keep environmental catastrophes at bay.

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I’m late to the party, but this looks very promising. Will come back with more useful thoughts.