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Planet 2010 - The Open Co-op story

  1. This presentation was developed in 2004 by Oli S-B of It uses some fictional cartoon characters to illustrate how a software system called PlaNet (the dream communications system of The Open Co-op) could help people live together in a collaborative, sustainable economy. We’d love to know what you think about the ideas in the story Please let us know via
  2. The following story is set in 2010 and describes how various users benefit from using PlaNet, the communications software The Open would like to see.
  3. Keith Welcome to the town Anyville, in the year 2010. Keith is a retired environmentalist who lives in Anyville, a beautiful town in the hills. He helped set up The Open Co-op and is an active member contributing to the global system. He provides mediation and conflict resolution helping people solve most problems before they get out of hand. He arranges discussions and votes on Open Co-op policies and fees, which are democratically agreed by the members. Having been a member for such a long time people tend to listen to Keith, who has an excellent reputation.
  4. The 'reputation' of members is their most important asset since anyone can rate their contributions to society and comment on their service. People are more likely to trust other members with good reputations and definitely prefer trading with them, as on eBay. Members can set their own 'dimensions' to specify how reputations are calculated. Keith’s groups use three notional dimensions based on wisdom, service and integrity: Wisdom is based on ratings of a member’s contributions to group discussions, like on Slashdot and many other services. High scores mean that people like what you say. Service indicates the cumulative hours a member has contributed to the community. Making service a prominent aspect of reputation encourages people to contribute. Because it is the 'cumulative' total, redeming service hours does not affect your reputation. Integrity is the kind of rating you get on eBay and many eCommerce sites today. High scores mean people think you have done a good job when you have sold something or served another member.
  5. Jon used to be a regular businessman with high blood pressure, struggling for market share. He’s since realised he can command higher profits, pay less tax, improve customer loyalty, waste less resources, improve employee morale and retention and lower his blood pressure all through ethical trading. He now makes a small fortune running Honest Jon's, an organic market in Anyville. Jon gets good ratings from his customers and has earnt an 'Open Kitemark', which many customers look for, helping him retain and grow a loyal customer base. He buys from other Open Co-ops worldwide via the PlaNet system and now he's cut out the middlemen he can compete with the traditional supermarkets. He's friends with Keith and very grateful to his Community Support Provider who helped him start up his business.
  6. What's a Community Support Provider? The Open Co-op envisages a network of Community Support Providers (CSPs) in communities across the globe. Every CSP will network together existing social enterprises, green businesses and co-ops in their area, getting them aware of each others activities, communicating and trading. We envisage that many of the existing 'social centers' and autonomous spaces will develop into 'hubs' of the new sustainable economy, using software like PlaNet and co-ordinating all the local co-ops in a community. CSPs will be the best place to search for local food, child care, gigs and even jobs, or to find information to help you set up or improve an ethical business. Read on for Priya's story
  7. Priya Priya lives in Auraville, southern India and used to struggle to make a living selling rice to corrupt exporters in a cut- throat market destabilised by perverse subsidies. When The Open Co-op got set up in india, Priya approached her local CSP who put her in touch with a Computer & Communications Co-op (CCC) who supplied her with a computer. The people at the CCC showed her how to trade directly with ethical buyers, like Jon, using the PlaNet software. Her CSP also introduced Priya to the farming advice & support groups online, helping her farm more efficiently. Now she acts as an agent for other farmers in her village, who don't have computers, running a local farming co-op. She has paid back the interest free loan on the computer and built relationships with buyers she trusts, guaranteeing a fair price for her rice, which she sells using the PlaNet accounts feature.
  8. The PlaNet accounts and payment system links all individual members, co-ops and other businesses within the sustainable economy to simplify trading and support. It offers a choice of conventional currency, local currencies and a ‘time bank’ for community service. The strength of PlaNet accounts is that they encourage ratings and reviews on each individual transaction which feed back into members reputations and provide valuable information for other online traders. Read on for Jess' story
  9. She is able to desseminate her reports easily by publishing articles on PlaNet and co-ordinate grant applications with other NGO's by sharing information online. Jess also organises the rota of volunteers who work for UK-NGO using PlaNets management software. Jess Jess is the media/PR officer for UK- Jess uses PlaNet at work to find specific information by asking her ‘bot’ (a personalisable digital assistant) to perform detailed searches for her, it even works when she’s away from her desk.
  10. Quality is maintained by feedback and peer inspection, not fear of loss of customers. The PlaNet Mangement Software provides stability and optimisation for all types of businesses and other organisations. Members can suggest ideas and report bugs to improve their management software, these are added to the next release by other co-op workers like Tom. The management software is specificaly designed for each type of organisation. People are motivated to work because they like the work and because of the respect it gives them. Flexibile work forces are possible and time spent on certain jobs can be adjusted to follow demand. Businesses have neither need nor desire to try to influence demand.
  11. He also spends time coding new versions of particular parts of PlaNet software and when he's not doing that he's often online writing quality reports on new equipment in the Open Guides. Tom Tom shares a rented flat with Jess in the city and works for Anycomms, his local Computer & Communications Co- op (CCC). He sets up on-line facilities for other local co-ops and provides computer advice & support for Open Co-op members.
  12. ratings according to who they trust most. The Open Guides show the real costs of goods and their ascribed monetary value in 3 different currencies allowing users to make informed choices about what they buy and from whom. Read on for Tyrone's story The Open Guides list companies products and services showing ratings and reviews, like on eBay and Amazon. Ratings and reviews provide the basis for quality standards and trust and give local businesses a promotional advantage in their community. Everytime anyone makes a purchase on PlaNet they can rate the product or service and other users can rate their
  13. time to the local CSP for which he is paid in local currency. He's learnt to reduce Sarah’s living expenses through clever searches on PlaNet, making informed purchases which are also healthier and more sustainable, and getting help via the Skills Exchange Tyrone Tyrone is often searching the Open Guides to find things for his mum, Sarah. He learnt all about PlaNet and The Open Co-op from Tom at Anycomms Co-op and got his computer on an interest free loan from his local CSP. Tyrone wants to be a rapper and is basically supporting his Mum and baby Beyonce by selling his music online and contributing
  14. The Skills Exchange is the place to find work and workers, it's the employment hub of PlaNet. It offers a wide range of skills and offers payment in conventional or local currency, acting as a source of part time jobs and low-cost services for businesses. Ratings and reviews on peoples service maintain confidence, as on eBay. Read on for Sarah and baby Beyonce's story
  15. Sarah and baby Beyonce Sarah is a single mum trying to do right by 13 year old Tyrone and baby Beyonce, but struggling to make ends meet. She gets lots of small part-time jobs from the Skills Exchange and saves lots of money through Swap Shop and by getting Tyrone to do things for her, like make clever searches on PlaNet.
  16. The PlaNet Swap Shop lists items that members no longer want and are prepared to barter, some things are even given away and collected from Swap Shop by charities and people in need. This encourages the efficient circulation of children's clothes, books, videos, old TVs and all sorts of other products which used to be dumped in landfills. The Swap Shop employs a team to repair faulty and broken goods, It saves people money and helps them consume far fewer precious resources. There could be lots more components of the PlaNet system, but this is as far as this story takes us.
  17. Conclusion None of the ideas or features of PlaNet:2010 are far fetched or unattainable concepts. We wrote the PlaNet:2010 story in 2004 and already several aspects of the PlaNet system have been implemented by the open source community. Meanwhile, there is a growing movement of people striving to build a collaborative sustainable economy check, for example, and (social and political movements related to the P2P, open and commons paradigms). For PlaNet, or something like it, to become a reality the numerous organisations working for a sustainable collaborative economy need to truly co-operate by pooling resources and developing shared infrastructure, together. The time is now. Visit The Open Co-op at for more information.