Can we build a purpose economy without a code of ethics?
There was a vigorous discussion 5 years ago on Skoll Social Edge about building a more efficient social marketplace.
Our founder, Terry Hallman who had begun in 1996, with his position paper on people-centered economics, was well aware of the threat to our work in Ukraine:
“So, if we’re inventing projects that we know will be stolen, there are at least two problem areas.
First, if stolen, it’s stolen. It’s not unlike an architect having a building design stolen. The architect/designer is in best position to understand exactly how it works and how to assemble what they’ve designed.
If someone wants to use a project design, it’s the same as any other project design. The design comes after an in-depth research phase, which in my experience tends to be extremely difficult not least from danger involved in shining light under rocks where the core problems are to begin with. That is, corrupt bureaucrats and officials. When I finish the research part — which I always do so far (Russia/Crimea/Ukraine) — I know exactly what the problems are, what solutions are needed, and how to navigate. Possibly someone else could take over and manage things from there on — implementation. I have no problem with someone else implementing a project, and usually prefer that. Even if they do, it’s still a matter of stolen property in which we’ve invested unilaterally to produce. Almost always, however, there may remain critical components that the implementer just doesn’t want to bother with. Maybe it’s too dangerous. Maybe there are political considerations and conflicts. In that case, the designer is likely the only person(s) to know how to get those done. That’s when it’s time to consult with the architect.
Second, even if the project outcome, after theft, is what was envisioned by the designer(s), how does the venture qualify as a social enterprise? Sure, we can slowly design projects one by one as income from our funding side permits. We can do it a lot faster if we get paid for our R&D output, just like any designers.
Finally, is it acceptable to build projects with stolen property? What sort of results would that lead to? Can be build an ethical system based upon unethical behavior (such as violations of Intellectual Property Rights)?
If we invent such a system, is it anything new? Or is it just a twist on the old system?
One thing that can be collaborated openly is this: a Code of Ethics. But, whose ethics? What org(s) will enforce them, and how? Who decides who gets in, how, and why?”