Allies in Austria: Verantwortung Erde

Last weekend I participated in the spring meeting of the Commons Institute (CI). One particular session was titled “Das Experiment einer schrittweisen Entgeldung in Villach/Österreich” (English: The experiment of a gradual de-monetization in Villach/Austria), held by Robert Kravanja. Robert was invited by Stefan Meretz to present his “experiment” to members of the CI. Here’s the German announcement:

“Was ist das Kennzeichen der Transition und wie geht der Übergang von einer profitorientierten Wachstumsgesellschaft in eine bedürfnisorientierte Solidargemeinschaft? Ich möchte ein sozial-ökonomisches Experiment zur Entgeldung lebenswichtiger Bereiche innerhalb der realen kapitalistischen Verwertungslogik vorstellen. In Villach haben wir, als kleine Gruppe seit 5 Jahren einzelne Tools und Skills eines möglichen Wandels in der Praxis ausprobiert. Jetzt wollen wir das Experiment auf 1500 - 2000 Menschen erweitern.”

I would like to invite you to read the manuscript of his talk (distributed via our Matrix channel). I believe it’s really worth the time – hearing the talk made my day, to say the least – and I think there’s also the chance of collaboration between our projects. I am already in contact with Robert and introduced our project to him.

Some more information about their project:

We can talk about it during our next Wednesday meeting, but feel free to comment on it already here.

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Thank you very much for sharing this!

There are many questions, regarding GCS the main one might be: Can our projects cooperate in any way?

Another one: How does it work to live demonetarized with children? You would need a school and probably isolate the children, otherwise teenagers would probably want to “enjoy” all the promises of capitalism.

Just some thoughts for the beginning. I’m looking forward to a live discussion. :slight_smile:

I think yes indeed.

So far, we have not been doing much of alliance work, but considering the challenges we (all) face, we should definitely try to reach out and connect to likeminded projects. In a way, we have already acknowledged this, but I’d like to emphasize it again. Verantwortung Erde knows since 2016 that they need something to manage items and skills. Why did the guys from tale:net – assumedly – did not know about Verantwortung Erde when they began their implementation in 2017? Why does Inventaire not integrate Pumpipumpe? Does System-D learn from the mistakes that made Pursuance fail? Why do entries from not appear at Why are there five maps that show transformative organizations, and none of them mentions/uses the Murmurations Network? And why did we miss the OPEN 2020?

Lack of alliance work.

This is a real pity, because so much precious time and effort is wasted. Too many of the 1787 projects listed at were dead before I could become aware of them, leaving little legacy.

Ok, this is a general point for alliance work, but what else is there besides “becoming aware” of each other? (And the benefits of that could already be great: understanding and learning from each other’s problems, solutions, visions; visiting each other; organising skill-shares and get-togethers.)

I haven’t been able to talk to Robert (Kravanja) about their database requirements in detail. But from what I understood they need a way to communicate items and skills between the various centers of life (Lebensmittelpunkte, communities of ~100 people). From my understanding this is a perfect use case of the GCS.


A short digression to Eric S. Raymond’s The Art of Unix Programming. Embedded in all those Unix principles is the idea that developers should not outsmart their users, but empower them:

The many ways Unix provides to glue together programs mean that components of its basic toolkit can be combined to produce useful effects that the designers of the individual toolkit parts never anticipated.

Flexibility All the Way Down


Interfaces are ‘expressive’ when they can readily be used to command a wide variety of actions. The most expressive interfaces can command combinations of actions not anticipated by the designer of the program, but which nevertheless give the user useful and consistent results.

Evaluating Interface Designs


Worse, programs that are opaque about what they are doing tend to have a lot of assumptions baked into them, and to be frustrating or brittle or both in any use case not anticipated by the designer. Tools that look glossy but shatter under stress are not good long-term value.

Transparency and Avoiding Overprotectiveness

I’d like it a lot if our software could even be put to use in situations which we did not anticipate originally.

Of course, we are “only” developing a minimum viable product right now. But even there, we need to think about a database for stuff (not so much for skills though). So that’s a possible point for collaboration. Now what if our MVP really is too “minimal” to support their use case? The software we develop right now might just not fit to what they need.

Well, for the last three years, we have not been developing very much software – with some notable exceptions, of course. But we have been developing ideas! We still are. So that could be another possible point for collaboration: Learning from their specific needs (e.g. generating “real life” user stories) or incorporating feedback after using other databases. Not to mention the social techniques they might have already developed and that could improve the further development of the GCS. And with our “environment analysis” and our theory, we also have a lot to share.

Last but not least, I think that other testbeds (besides the regions selected by the Swiss consumer organization) would be awesome for our MVP as well.

Funnily enough, Robert (Kravanja) addressed this specific point as well (briefly though), see the procotol I sent via our Matrix room, line 769. Let alone the fact that there likely is no genuine enjoyment of those false promises :upside_down_face:.


There is a (small) discussion going on at Keimform: