Minimal Viable Governance

This Minimal Viable Governance is people centred not algorithm centred. That is we seek to build a conscious, directed governance of the systemic nature of the commons, and to place this governance under bottom-up, informed, and responsive human control.

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Our aim is to support this governance with minimal flexible tools (a platform), that enable small groups of individuals to choose, select and build the governance they seek.

# Nested

An important element to be aware of is that this crude, tiny block like structure, when created in such a way that it can be instantiated in a blink of the eye at virtually no cost, can be nested and clustered and shaped into forms of infinite complexity.

There should be an instinctive concern when considering governance mechanisms regarding the tendency towards rigid, oversimplified box-like governance. We know from the study of complex systems, that there is no way to govern any form of complexity without an equally sophisticated governace system (we need sufficient requisite variety in the jargon).

Imagine each MVG structure as a molecule or a cell. Out of such small but viable building blocks we can build complex organs, swarms, and permaculture gardens. It is at this second level (and most likely further levels of abstraction), that we build, manage and allow to flourish an ecosystem.

# Avoid bureaucracy

At the same time, bureaucracy is our enemy. Long reams of constitutional legalese are to be avoided at all costs. They become dead weights around living dynamic group cultures, both too simple to represent the complexity of the governance required and too complex for anyone to be bother to read (except professional with an interest in having expertise with regard to the levers of power).

By choosing simple structures, and scaling complexity at the ecosystem level, we can achieve a minimum of bureaucracy. Furthermore through the use of technology we can provide elegant and comprehensible interfaces to such governance, while at every stage providing open access to the underlying code to protect against corruption and to build confidence and trust in the system.

# Platform

It is therefore essential to create a platform that is there to serve our governance needs. A good way to picture what we mean by platform is to imagine not simply software - but a type of augmented civil service. There are people involved offering services, we need to build things, and these people need to get paid to deliver these services on behalf of the community.

However because of both the systemic nature of the design challenge, and the inherent governance dangers of providing too much access to private interests to the levers of power, it is important to structure the design, and control and finance of this platform in a way that mitigates conflict of interest, and in which the entire community can have confidence and trust in the systems that govern the allocation of common resources.

# Simple

Simplicity is a core goal. Governance is not simple, as anyone who has read the legal document (constitution) of an organisation can testify. However it is simplicity and transparency that enables human beings to participate in the purpose and direction of an organisation.

To this end we seek to instantiate a minimal set of tools that enable anyone to craft their won governance structure over time as a living document.

# People centred

Our starting point is well facilitated meetings of groups seeking a common purpose, supported by democratic governance in consideration of the various forms such governance can take.

# Augmented

To support this governance we seek to build tools that groups can use to remove as much bureaucracy as possible from the process, while providing enough clear, transparent, and robust structure to support the systemic complexity that a truly federated structure requires.

Our current choice of technologies that empower such governance involves the integration of minimal digital legal governance, distributed ledger technology (blockchain), packaged in an easy to deploy containerised microservice architecture.

# See also