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Ownership Is The New Citizenship
Jess sits down with Nathan Schneider for the latest episode of Building At The Edges.
Ownership As Citizenship
Nathan Schneider is a teacher in Media Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder where he runs the Media Enterprise Design Lab. He’s the originator of the “exit-to-community” meme, and as the co-founder of Start.Coop, Nathan thinks deeply about what crypto can learn from the long history of economic justice.
In this episode, Jess and Nathan unpack the provocative concept of innovation amnesia that accompanies moments of great technological disruption. Innovation amnesia is an acknowledgement of the way in which technology innovation fogs our collective memory of previous structures that enabled important human protections. Yet tech disruptions serve as significant cultural moments — sometimes disruption is exactly what we need to propel us beyond stale modes of thinking.
The emergence of tokenized communities are an example of exactly this kind of disruption. Schneider argues for a rethinking of ownership as citizenship, inviting people to be more than just economic actors in relationship to an entity. Ownership enabled by blockchain creates the possibility for people to define their relationship to productive activities and the fundamental human pursuit of a more just, democratically-owned future.
Cooperatives and tokenized communities experience similar levels of voting ambivalence — it’s not uncommon for only 3% of token holders in a community to vote on a given proposal. But unlike the limitations of a physical-world cooperative, we now have an entire menu of possibilities for ownership with blockchain. Tokenized communities can both functionally and conceptually code what ownership means. This design activity is a fundamentally creative pursuit; we get to innovative governance and ownership frameworks over and over again.
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