Bear with me on this one, because it's a critical idea whose time has most definitely come: Some clever software could change the world as we know it. We don't need banks to use money, or make transactions. We don't need overpaid MPs and elitist Lords to make democratic decisions. We don't need middle-men to pile on margins to trade goods. We don't need corporations to bring us news or media. All we need are networks of trust. Ideally we need a self-regulating, international network, built on openness and transparency which rewards co-operation and utilises a combination of factors to assess reputation and trust. But linking people to other people, registering common patterns and links and transactions and relationships, storing values and processing multiple factors is exactly what software is good at! I'll say it again: Some clever software could change the world as we know it. If you understand that money is nothing more than an agreement and that democracy means you are supposed to 'have a say', it is not hard to see how software could help humanity build a system which might possibly supersede the existing capitalist hypocrisy. Still not getting it? Imagine a huge social network (like Face Book but with ethics and a purpose) in which people create 'offers' and 'wants'. These could be for food, jobs, goods, anything you can trade and could be rated and ranked for 'sustainability', incentivising people to pick the least planet-damaging option. Payments could be made in a new kind of 'money' that was based on something real, like food or energy for example. One unit of energy might buy a loaf of bread from the local baker but one from the next town might cost two. Now imagine that all the users were mapped, so you could see where they were and which ones would be affected by which decisions. It would be easy to ask the people who would be affected by a plan to build a new road or nuclear reactor what they thought, and factor in their opinions with more relevance than someone living on the other side of the country. Delivered correctly and with enough users these two, simple bits of software could out-date the existing monetary and decision-making systems. It's a big idea, which comes to people in different ways. My own 'epiphany' was in 2004 after-which I wrote the paper 'Participatory Democracy Networks' and less than a year later I helped found The Open Co-op. (Check out the cartoon and screen-shots of the proposed software PlaNet for a more detailed explanation of the vision). Since then I have watched other people have the same ideas and embark on 'world-changing web ventures' with mixed success but none of them have achieved a tenth of the ultimate vision. But it's an idea that isn't going away and more will try where others have failed. We can learn from each other's mistakes, we can achieve more if we collaborate - nowhere is this more apparent than in software development. So where is the 'digital plexus' project on Source Forge? Where's the 'system 2' from Stafford Beers Viable System Model which allows members with a shared purpose 'to communicate between each other' and assists in the 'monitoring and co-ordination of activities'? Until someone suggests there is something better, this thread is here for that purpose: To monitor the advent of the 'digital plexus' or 'ethical web' as some like to call it, and all the wonders that it might bring.