Your only joy, and your only rest, is to pass from one action performed in the service of the human community to another action performed in the service of the human community...
Aurelius VI, 7
Today I'm going to talk about Loomio, a platform for cooperative decision making. What's Loomio have to do with Stoicism? Well...it is the duty of every Stoic to work towards a just society. The Stoic perspective is a communal one, as I've previously stated. Other than that, I just happen to be deeply interested in technology that promotes cooperation. Loomio does just that, and it's in the last weeks of funding. So here's my personal pitch.
Loomio is a means of making democratic, all voices included, collaborative decision-making fully scalable. The platform allows people to come together for productive problem-solving conversations where every voice is heard and all ideas can be on the table. With Loomio, people anywhere can self-organize and solve the issues that matter to them. That's what I mean by "scalable." Until now, real democratic decision-making has required small groups in face to face circumstances. Now that same process simply requires a mobile phone*.
Why am I excited about Loomio? I work in emergency management. When I was managing a New York shelter during Hurricane Sandy, the hardest thing to do was solicit ideas from our clients. They were the ones who knew what worked and what didn't. They had ideas as to how to make things better. Getting those ideas heard was the challenge. What if every person in that shelter could easily communicate their thoughts, and the best ideas rose to the top of the conversation? It would have been amazing.
All across this world people are being displaced by violence and other disasters and forced over borders into makeshift camps. What if within days of a camp forming, the people could self-organize to solve problems and also magnify their voices in the face of the international organizations that arrive to bring aid? It could change the face of community agency.
And yes, Loomio could also make organizing a local block party all the simpler.
Here's a few final points about Loomio, it's:
- mobile, so it works across all devices
- safe, so you can control your own data and privacy
- accessible, so people of all abilities can participate
- free and open-source software, licensed under AGPL3
- as easy to use as email
If you look into Loomio and find it at all intriguing, please think about donating and spreading the word. If it doesn't mean much to you, but you have friends or followers who are interested in community organization, grassroots democracy, or who volunteer for international NGOs, pass the word to them. Loomio is an experiment worth supporting.
*Please don't think that 'mobile phone" means that Loomio is for the wealthy. Most so-called developing nations have mobile penetration levels significantly higher than the "developed" world. In fact, many have penetration beyond 100% (more mobiles than people). Also, Loomio is striving to work through SMS, so users won't even require a smart phone.