Coordination and cooperation is everything

I don’t know why I seem to have never blatantly spelled this out, but cooperation and coordination are the issues in everything around what we’re doing and our challenges. I just want to make sure this is expressed as clearly as possible. We would not have focused on public goods as we have without the core underlying value of cooperation.

  • snowdrift dilemma — obviously public goods, freeriding, etc, the whole topic is about cooperation and coordination (or the failure to achieve it)
  • operating as a co-op
  • researching all the existing platforms was not just for our perspective or to pitch why we’re better, it’s because we have a fundamental wish for more cooperation and coordination among everyone working for the same goals
  • using FLO tools — we want to be in cooperation with and honoring the others who are already working on these things

I could go on about everything in this scope. I’ve done other videos, presentations, and writings focusing on how coordination is a key question in just about any topic anyone can name.

My thought today: cooperation and coordination are hard.

It’s one thing to just wish for them but another to achieve them. They are obviously possible. The examples abound, and they are the inspiration for so much. Many thinkers assert the idea that widespread cooperation is the defining feature of humanity (Harari, Sapiens; Rushkoff, Team Human; and on and on and on). It’s not just for good. The power of corporations is specifically through cooperation. Grotesque exploitation of people and the planet is achieved through widespread cooperation. But if cooperation were easy, we wouldn’t see it fail in so many cases.

Given that it’s already a deep challenge to build a different sort of widespread cooperation in funding public goods, does our dedication to cooperation-in-everything amount to taking on too much? Early on, a lot of time and energy that could have gone to building the core mechanism was invested in my separate insistence on building effective, respectful, cooperative online communication around the project. Maybe identifying this urge to achieve optimal cooperation always is the first step to grappling with the question of when to compromise in order to keep a scope that we can actually achieve?