The world's next prevalent economic and governance system is called cooperatism and can be a driving force for healing our biosphere. With Polis we are helping its evolution along by providing methods, tools and funding to enable an ecosystem of distributed, self-governing organizations that value people and planet over profit.
It is in our best interest as humanity that we make sure that the next generation of organizations represent a commons that is shared between all stakeholders, rather than a business owned by shareholders. Each stakeholder, whether a customer, a worker, a community member or a shareholder must have a say in the governance of the commons they represent. In fact, we envision an evolution of the cooperative concept that combines (a) stakeholder inclusion with (b) the knowledge and education necessary to achieve high participation and (c) tools and technology to support distributed organizations to achieve this at large scale.
There are strong reasons why such organizations will outcompete hierarchical, pure profit-driven corporations. At the core is the radically different relationship that worker-owners have with the organization and each other. Their influence in decision making and their increased autonomy creates better lives for workers, not in the least due to the transparent and fair distribution of the profits to worker-owners in those organizations.
This way of working has far reaching consequences. High participatory cooperatives are able to deliver better quality products and services because of the responsibility that each worker takes in the production. Instead of destructive internal competition, cooperation or coopetition between workers or producers allow for mutually beneficial information sharing that results in innovation and prevention of common issues. Those factors also benefit production efficiency and cause lower prices and higher margins in the medium to long term. Alignment on core values and the noble cause of those organizations increase worker and customer loyalty which results in lower turnover, better communities and increased product-market-fit. They are also are more resistant to economic downturns and are able to adapt better to changing external conditions.
We call ourselves Polis because we believe that the best organizations, the ones that put people and planet over profit, are self-governing distributed organizations that include the voice of all stakeholders. These organizations do not have a centralized organizational structure. The idea of a network of self-sovereign city states opposed to a singular nation-state is a metaphor for how we see the organization of the ecosystems that we help incubate.
Based on our experience with cooperative organizations we have learned that there is no silver bullet. There are steep requirements for personal growth for most people that join such an organization. This is especially true because these skills and mindsets are generally not cultivated in our society. We provide methods and tools to address this and help with the necessary personal growth.
We also find that cooperatives need to remain vigilant against certain centralizing tendencies that occur whenever humans exercise power. We address this by providing tools and methods for self governance aimed at sustaining digital cooperatives in the long term. Lastly we provide the necessary funding in order to get these startups off the ground.