We are just entering a time when there is a sea change in public awareness of:
Environmental emergency: climate change, mass extinction, vast pollution, but also very much
How dysfunctional is our society: mad politicians in many countries, growing inequality, intolerance, endemic wars,
An economy that functions as a global cancer leaving more people in poverty even in wealthy countries, many countries in economic meltdown,
Vast global corporations don’t serve us well, we have no control of our lives in all sorts of ways: unable to find ways to complain about problems, being exploited as employees and customers, no way to change their destructive ways, no personal connection.
Who are we appealing to?
As our early adopters, people/businesses/organisations who care about people and planet. Who are looking for something different, a society that actually works, that feels good, where they are part of a community that looks after its members and the planet. Actively working on a basis of trust and shared values.
We are NOT just going for people who want to save a bit of money on their babysitting. This must be values based, although that may not be the big, explicit message, it must be clear in the promotion.
I think attracting businesses is core to this, and will also lead to the later stages when we have a local money-based trading system. (The local Amazon/eBay etc.) We want to attract the “good” businesses, those that are actively trying to be as environmentally sound as they can be, those that treat their customers, staff and suppliers well. We will give them an advantage by promoting them for those values, by creating a core of customers who are committed to them. For businesses, we need to develop the contents of the profile and the trust network, which will probably take the form of ‘preferred’ customers, those who mostly choose to patronise them. In return, we expect them to offer preferred treatment to those customers, maybe not discounts, but all kinds of specials: first preference to special products, access to their spare capacity, obsolete products and equipment, etc. They will build active reputation for all of this.
Volunteering and giving favours & gifts
We can use Discourse’s levels of membership to simplify this. Higher levels of membership can only be reached by a certain amount of volunteering and gift giving. We need to spell out an ethos of offering gifts and favours preferably to those who give a lot to others and the community..
We can use this policy to recruit community organisations that serve the community, giving them badges to give out to their volunteers, which will help their volunteers reach higher levels of membership.
Similarly, we can use this to recruit people to voluntarily coordinate aspects of our network, such as coordinating the child care, or the food, or the transport. This coordination should be a mixture of a small number of paid (part-time) people and volunteers.
The social vision
Joining a community that knows how to look after its members, knows how to handle disagreements and conflicts constructively, that can stop people from bullying and exploiting each other.
It proactively organises the major aspects of living: food, transport, energy, caring services of all sorts, and peacemaking, as chosen by its members. It does this using volunteers and paid coordinators with whom you have a personal connection.
It has an ethos and social mechanisms that promote harmony. The Peacemaking aspects are core. We might make some kind of basic training in communication and peacemaking a requirment for the highest levels of membership. Moreover, people with training as peacemakers who can intervene when needed should be one of the skills we acively seek, and also train.
Everyone gives and receives, in accordance with their own needs, skills and interests. We set it up so that their is enough to receive to make it attractive to take part, and enough ways of offering for all abilities, skills, interests. We actively recruit people who might otherwise be considered disadvantaged, as people who are housebound, ill, elderly, chronically unemployed, discriminated against. etc. with lots of possible ways for them to serve.