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Author Topic: [2016-09-11] The Blockchain: An Experiment in Governance Without Power  (Read 153 times)
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September 11, 2016, 07:52:46 AM

Ariel Deschapell is content manager for blockchain real estate startup Ubitquity, and a recent Henry Hazlitt fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education.

In this opinion piece, Deschapell argues that cryptocurrencies aren't just an experiment in monetary theory, but also a radical experiment in decentralized governance.

Bitcoin’s unique ecosystem of peers and stakeholders stands in stark contrast to most other human organizations.

The voting public is accustomed to issues being settled by aggregated winner-take-all votes, and executive edicts enforced by the state. Meanwhile in the corporate world, directives are issued down a hierarchy, and those who do not comply with them are ultimately fired.

But the same rules and attitudes do not define the governance of blockchain ecosystems.

According to conventional political ideas a decentralized and wholly voluntary system of governance should not be possible, let alone optimal. The success of bitcoin as a monetary and social experiment therefore could depend on shattering this very narrative.

 Unlike other systems, its organization is not defined by power structures, but by voluntary consensus and open competition.

Take democracy, nearly unanimously considered in Western academia as the most optimal form of governance, it seeks to fill positions of power in the most egalitarian manner possible using popular vote.

Political scientist Francis Fukuyama even famously remarked “What we may be witnessing … is the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government”, leading us to believe that no further improvements are left to be made.

Like other systems of government, though, democracy never actually questions the necessity of positions of power. It is an underlying presumption that power, the ability to compel others, is a necessary prerequisite for organizing collective efforts in the most socially optimal manner.
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