Thought Overflow…Golda’s BlogIf memes are like genes, then having a conversation in which you share ideas and come up with new ones is like…?

So my writings here are sort of musings, on the personal side as opposed to the what-the-hell-is-going-on-in-the-world side. I also write as gvelez on medium; as wordmonkey on dailyKos; occasionally on Blog for Arizona & Hacker Noon; and once on impakter and LA Progressive should you wish to subject yourself…

also published on – but I think I’ll keep a copy here all the same. some of the thoughts evolved from the previous “minddump” draft…

The dismal science, also known as Economics, describes behavior as “rational” if maximizes personal satisfaction. Markets are held up as a tool for maximizing everyone’s satisfaction, yet they they inherently anonymize the participants, limiting the “rational” values that can be modeled. Behaviors based on principles or relationships are disregarded – yet non-transactional values that cannot be “bought” are central drivers for behavior in most humans that I care to associate with. I prefer to deal with people I know and trust, to work on things I care about, to buy products that were made in fair working conditions. I strongly want never to buy things that murderers profited from, yet today I often do so. An anonymized marketplace does not allow me to easily act “rationally” based on my actual values. A richer ecosystem of information would provide much higher utility, than the current common model of anonymized transactions.

In math, the shape of the universe follows from the axioms chosen. An assumption of scalar rationality in which all values are transactional and anonymizable is not wrong mathematically, it simply determines the shape of the universe described.

In science, we try to describe the observed shape of the world. Models and theories are tested by their ability to predict behavior in the real world. Hand-waving away large swaths of human motivation and observed behavior as “irrational” is a religious, not scientific approach.

In engineering, we try to shape the world. What shape do we want? For very clearly, tools that only allow anonymous transactions lead to a world in which everything is for sale.

The exciting thing in our time is not that we can automate markets, but that we can actualize language and intention. SBTs are a good starting point, that allow us to efficiently encode the values and relationships, the specific judgements and experiences that in fact drive our behavior.

I wrote more about this some time back: Can’t Buy Me Love: An Argument for Implementing Illiquidity which discusses encoding trust, changing cooperative structures and using earned tokens for governance, and offers computational models of love and corruption, among other things.

0 Thinking in the Open

Golda to Writing  

You write notes down first, then write them up.  So, this is writing down, threading out thoughts to sift through later.

Joy in work comes from meaning, and teammates – and most when colleagues share the meaning and core values, enough of the deep context, and share a level of professionalism and skill to make work fly. It is common enough to find shared professionalism or skill, harder to find the shared meaning, and a treasure when all come together. If in addition it pays something, well, it’s a plus but it makes little difference to the moment, as long as bills are handled somewhere.

Transactional markets are never going to capture this. Nor do they try to – but why do economists find it legitimate to handwave away the real reasons many of us do work?

Money, according to Economics 101, is useful as “a medium of exchange, a unit of account, a store of value, and a standard of deferred payment.” And so it is. Economics, however, if measuring real change in the world – something equivalent to the concept of work or energy in physics – should not limit itself to those patterns measurable by scalar and liquid values. I have written more about this from a values perspective in Can’t Buy Me Love. But even as a brick-and-mortor economist, wanting to explain why the buildings are built and how the code gets written, non-scalar functions are essential.

Not all patterns map to each other. A map on a flat surface cannot map to a map on a donut, no matter how you stretch it – the paths will not be the same. No matter how you change the constants in a polynomial it will not behave as a sine wave. Some things have different shapes, different dynamics.

No matter how much you pay me, you cannot create the joy I feel from creating meaningful things together, and I am not happy if I compromise a principle for money. If I define myself as a set of values, say a value equation that includes a high value for keeping my word, for caring for my children and friends, for expressing my own truth and doing work that matters to me – none of that is transactional. And therefore most of my efforts, that hopefully build things and create value, are not correctly modelled.

I do in fact work for pay, and am paid well; market forces are not irrelevent. But most of the time I am able to choose my work rather than it choosing me, without a sacrifice or transaction for the value. And fortunately my minutes are not regulated by an Amazon style timeclock ensuring that every drop is squeezed out. I hope I do my work well, as professionalism is one of my own values. But the choice of how my hours are spent, especially the working hours outside of working hours, I assert is not predictable by a model where everything has a price.

If your model is not predicting reality, it is flawed. And if your model is actually influencing rules and policy that allow for exploits that cause great harm, it is even more flawed – but that is another essay.

Sending these to a contact, made me want to pin them here as well:

A draft of an essay calling for more frameworks for stateless individuals: Citizen or Hostage

Started a framework for grassroots policy formation – Open Public Policy RFCs and wrote about it on medium – Taking Public Policy out of the Cathedral and into the Bazaar

Currently focusing on my WhatsCookin’ startup, demonstrating a working model of work-weighted corporate governance, and decentralized tech.

One of the key things to decentralize is trust. I do think we will need a feed of reputation assertions, simple description here – Open Reputation Feed

0 Mr Rosewater

Golda to Booknotes,Thoughts  

If oxidative damage causes aging then we all burn up in the end, Mr Vonnegut

One cannot have subtlety without context.

re The volunteer firement trying to prevent their loved ones from combining with oxygen, in God Bless You, Mr Rosewater

suppose there were a gene that made the bearer feel entitled to other people’s things.

would it spread?

And before pointing fingers, remember…the bearer would not think of them as other people’s, or that they were taking anything by their actions.

logic exists (and a given problem is logical) if you can put 100 people in separate rooms with the problem and they converge on the same answer

a logical problem is interesting if they converge over time, but generally do not agree given a very brief time

0 From the Evolution Desk…

Golda to Thoughts  

male: “I’m going to have a million kids or die trying”

female: “how do I make sure all my children survive and also everyone else I’m related to?”

Unfortunately part of the female strategy is to try to get the “successful” male genes into her sons.

the other weird part about this is that the same 99% of the genes can be directed to one or the other strategy depending on if they are cohabiting with a tiny Y chromosome…

When doing a startup, you talk about it everywhere, with everyone. At least I do.

I went hiking today on a familiar trail; but the monsoons had changed things and I found myself going up and down the canyon looking for the turnoff.

A couple sitting on a rock seemed friendly – we started chatting. The man, older, was a theoretical physicist with strong opinions. He seemed sure where the trail should have been, that the monsoons had wiped it out.

He was also sure that I was a socialist, after I explained a bit about my ideas for work weighted shared governance. Then he expounded on why only top down models could possibly work given his experiences in Poland and Germany. I’m not sure what the woman thought as she couldn’t seem to get two words in edgewise. He seemed to conflate countries and companies, and to be arguing against many things I did not say.

I cannot prove yet that bottom up accountability can beat a top down authoritarian structure, so I cannot say with certainty that he was wrong in his assertions about corporate models. He definitely was wrong about the hiking trail, though. I found the turnoff five minutes up the canyon where it had always been, the trail not at all washed out. Perhaps a bit more experimentation, and less theoretical expounding, is called for after all.

so high level patterns are the most durable – look at what percent of code is left from even 20 years ago; words from 500 years ago remain and are widely used

“what a tangled web we weave…”

quotes that use powerful imagery to communicate a complex pattern survive and become encapsulated in speech and writing…it is also chance tho which are focused on. song titles, even meme culture – analyzing the survival of phrases would be really interesting

0 Which story

Golda to Uncategorized  

Sometimes, it’s hard for me to switch gears from something I care a lot about – launching this cooperative startup, or lobbying for these guys who are facing down dictators in Myanmar or kidnapped by thugs in Iraq – to writing python tests for a purpose that is, shall we say, less than earth-shaking. And to force my brain to make the switch, sometimes I put on a tv series, that effectively disengages my emotions from the real world and somehow lets me work on things I really don’t want to do. But then, I find myself attached to this fictional narrative more than I am to the people really relying on me, and that is disturbing.

So how to make myself interested in my own story, in our shared story of crafting this startup to change corporate behavior, of connecting grassroots activists together into a loose team that support each other around the world. How to shape that into a narrative with enough tension and resolution to make the real world addicting? Sometimes it is; but any time I break the connection, re-forging it can take days. I want to find better ways to hold onto the threads, to let them rest when I need to without losing my grip. Relationships are the main way – common purpose, teammates, friends who are willing to hear about the journey. Writing is another, that crystalizes purpose and makes it real.

Making ideas real, making them happen, is fundamentally what all these things are about. And somehow telling their stories, is what connects us to reality and brings it to life.

So perhaps, I should tell more stories, if only to myself.