Communities worldwide face a growing mix of complex problems, and are themselves complex systems. Challenges such as climate change, unemployment, underfunded schools, pollution, income inequality, and food security stretch budgets and resources. To thrive, communities must increasingly become smarter, more organized and resilient, and focused on solving local problems in light of global challenges.
The Local Economic Direct Democracy Association (LEDDA) framework, now in early-stage development, is a radically innovative toolbox and set of ideas that could help communities achieve aims and reinvent themselves as secure, fit, and thriving in the 21st century and beyond.
A LEDDA is a membership-based, community benefit corporation—a civic club of interested individuals, businesses, nonprofits, agencies, and other local groups. The functional purpose of a LEDDA is to maximize the well-being of its members and to benefit the global public. Well-being is broadly defined to span the social, economic, environmental, and public health realms. A LEDDA fulfills its purpose via use of the LEDDA framework.
The LEDDA framework is a flexible, scalable, carefully engineered technology made available to the public under an open-source license. Implementations can begin after the development phase and pilot trials have been completed. At that time, a large volume of data and numerous modeling tools will be available to help community groups decide if the LEDDA framework is right for them. If desired, the Principled Societies Project can act as consultant to explore options, ease implementation, provide training, and help ensure success.
The LEDDA framework is a sophisticated product that can be understood from different perspectives. It is:
- A new type of local economic and financial system that acts as an overlay to an existing city or regional economy.
- An intelligent decision-support system. Data monitoring and computational models of well-being and flows of resources, wastes, and currencies help members understand current conditions and answer “what if” questions about decision outcomes.
- A system of economic democracy that offers all members roughly equal and direct opportunity to influence the direction of their local economy.
- A platform to massively fund local schools, nonprofits, medical care, public works, research, and other groups and endeavors that improve well-being. It generates data and supports research in artificial intelligence, complex systems engineering, economics, public health, agriculture, ecology, and other fields.
- A platform to massively fund small businesses, share intellectual property, and increase local self-sufficiency in food, manufacturing, and other sectors.
- A means to achieve higher incomes, meaningful jobs, and a high degree of income equality. Full employment is possible, even if advances in robotics and other labor-saving technologies are embraced.
- An economic system in which job creation and environmental protection and reclamation are highly compatible. A community can fund climate change action, recycling, conservation efforts, and other green projects.
- A social welfare system that eliminates poverty.
- A new way to think about the purpose of an economy and the meaning of money.
- A transparent, globally networked economic system that encourages cooperation and collaboration. It aligns motivations for economic behavior with a more complete understanding of human nature, needs, and behavior.
The LEDDA framework is being developed and tested by the LEDDA Partnership, which welcomes participation by academic, civil society, government, business, and philanthropy groups worldwide.
Development and funding
The LEDDA framework is based on the 2014 book Economic Direct Democracy: A Framework to End Poverty and Maximize Well-Being. Lay articles and a simulation model of a county-level LEDDA economy have been published.
If full funding is secured, the work of the LEDDA Partnership is expected to span a 10-year period at an average cost of $7 million per year (i.e., the budget of a mid-sized nonprofit). We are currently seeking support in the form of donations, grants, donations-in-kind, and program-related investments. Suggestions and introductions to funders are welcomed.
Funding is difficult to secure, however, especially for bold, early-stage, first-in-class projects like ours. You can help kick off this important and timely work by participating in our donation/coupon program. Individuals and groups anywhere in the world can show their support with a promise for later funding. Once total donation/coupon pledges reach a threshold of $300,000, enough to hire full-time staff and make substantial progress, we will call the pledges in.
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