Axiological values, experimental social netsorking and alternative currency
Author
Sergio Guitart

Axiological Economy – redistribution of a finite amount of community currency in assistance of an impartial algorithm that considers daily peer axiological valuations and transactions.

Axiology – philosophical study of value, mainly two kinds: ethics and aesthetics.  Ethics investigates the concepts of "right" and "good" in individual and social conduct. Aesthetics studies the concepts of "beauty" and "harmony".  (source: wikipedia)

In Madrid, an Elementary Public School Teacher, Francisco Ortega, has organized an experiment to test his ideas of how communities should relate to money.  The experiment consists on a local social network for High School Students that allows them to practice an Axiological Economy.  Since 2003 Francisco has been working with a programmer to develop the software, the beta version is finally ready and it’s being tested in 5 Schools within Madrid, Cataluña and Extremadura.

School Directors are interested in the initiative because they see in this an opportunity to reinforce good behavior and practice civic education.  Students, for their part have good and bad appreciations but it’s still too soon to draw conclusions.  The experiment is designed to last 4 months, so by the end of June we should have consistent results.  Nonetheless, by going through some quotes from the 200 students that are participating, the good seems to be further above the bad.

“What's best about the experiment is that peers value your behavior, not grownups with authority.  You don't know who they are specifically, but they say "We like this about you and it’s right, we don't like this about you and it’s wrong.  And because it’s right, we pay you for it".  I trade credits for English lessons.” -13 year old, Blas-

“Last year I dressed gothic and didn't talk to anyone at school.  Now I have on average 500 credits, people don't like the way I dress, but in all the other categories I rule!  I exchange credits for music.” -16 year old, C.M.-

What is the experiment about?

A course of approximately 40 students participates per establishment coordinating their assets using a finite amount of complementary currency.  10.000 credits are redistributed daily between peers in relation to axiological valuations and transactional history.

How do you get this to work?

The School’s IT Responsible implements the open source software developed by Francisco and José Carlos (programmer) in the schools local or on-line server.  The software acts like a closed social network that manages the currency in an impartial way, applying daily an algorithm that takes into part axiological valuations and transactions.  Students, for their part, undertake the task of axiologicaly valuating peers daily and registering transactions as they occur.  If you miss a day, the system considers your previous valuations.

What do they value?

Valuating a peer implies going through 20 values and declaring if he/she complies, doesn’t or fulfills it above standard:

Personal and Environmental Hygiene

  • Takes care of personal image, looks clean
  • Dresses with dignity
  • Take care of nearby environment

Personal Health and Essential Values

  • Aware of his/hers health
  • Aware of energy consumption
  • Eat well, sleep enough and avoid toxic habits
  • Drives vehicles safe and respectfully
  • Doesn’t pollute or disturb the environment
  • Enjoys life
  • Helps others enjoy life 

How you relate

  • Polite and attentive greet
  • Listen to others without hurry
  • Sensitive to any signal from others that may contribute to communication
  • Drive vehicles with respect and aware of others (vehicles and pedestrians)
  • Offers most compatible goods or service to whom usually relates to
  • Strive for learning, teach and understanding

Work Efficiency

  • Start work on time and for an adequate amount of time
  • Truly committed to work
  • Minds for how others value his/her work and puts a fair price on it

A Frivolous Value

  • Tells jokes and talks frivously, with grace, will and humor

How much money are we talking about?

If you think he/she: complies with the value= 1 credit, doesn’t = 0 credits, fulfills above standards=2 credits.  In case the overall sum of credits assigned to all participants exceeds the 10.000 credits available, the system reduces everybody’s credits in the same proportion (5% for example).  The numbers are then rounded up and all the residual credits are stored in the “common treasure”.

The credits were designed to represent 10 cents of a euro, but the value hasn’t been imposed in the experiment to give space to the community to move at its proper pace. 

Considering 10 cents per credit within a community of 100 students, if on average you receive 100 credits, you would manage in your account the equivalent to 10 Euros.  For a 13-17 year old that’s a considerable amount of money.

What is being exchanged for the credits?

Sports equipment, rollerblades, skateboards, bike rental or repairs, English tutoring, music, etc.

What’s next for the project?

“We should try it in Jails, but in that case we should star by eliminate the driving values… because prisoners don’t drive of course” -Francisco Ortega-

Francisco dreams of a mobile application that’ll allow peers handle a useful digital currency.  He thinks strongly that the amount of values to review among peers should be reduced from 20 to 5 and that they should be agreed on by the community. 

And in a very honest and humble way, he reinforces that what he is doing isn`t new.  The only difference is that the monetary inflation is replaced by an axiological inflation because of the finite amount of money; and that the use of technology allows an impartial redistribution.  We have the technology now!

The software for this project is open source php available in Spanish, French, English and German from http://personales.ya.com/kapitalverdad

For further information: sergioguitart@gmail.com.

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