Assemblany: Towards Democratic Corporations

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Draft Initial Rules 101-102

The following are suggested (and very much draft) initial rules for an assemblany (democratic corporation). They can be modified (though these rules should be harder to modify than most - see rule 109).

Rule 101 establishes that the rules of the assemblany are, indeed, rules, and as such must be followed. Policies, most procedures, and guidelines are not rules and should be treated separately.

Rule 102 sets out classes and categories of rules, and establishes that both classes and categories may change.

If you haven't read Nomic rules before, please be aware that they are intended to be precise and loophole-free - though generally not as legalese as the laws of a country tend to become.

Rule 101
"All Workers must always abide by all the rules of the assemblany then in effect, in the form in which they are in effect.

"All Voters must always abide by all the immutable and mutable voter rules of the assemblany then in effect, in the form in which they are in effect.

"The rules in the Initial Set are in effect when the assemblany is formed. The Initial Set consists of Rules 101-1ab (immutable), 201-2cd (mutable voter) and 301-3ef (mutable business).

"Ethical and relevant legal considerations always take precedence over these rules when there is a conflict."

Rule 102
"Initially, rules in the 100s are immutable, rules in the 200s are mutable (in the voter category, or mutable voter rules) and rules in the 300s are mutable (in the business category, or mutable business rules).

"Rules subsequently enacted or transmuted (that is, changed from immutable to mutable or vice versa) may be immutable or mutable regardless of their numbers, and rules in the Initial Set may be transmuted regardless of their numbers. Similarly, mutable rules may be transformed (ie change category from voter to business or vice versa) regardless of their numbers."

Note that "Worker" isn't explicitly defined here, and maybe isn't defined at all in these rules. Implicitly it means someone who is paid wages from the revenue of the assemblany, in recompense for work carried out on behalf of the assemblany. However, the boundary may be fuzzy between Worker and Voter.

A "Voter" is someone who has a say in how the business operates, and is generally a stakeholder of some sort (typically worker or customer). There is a danger of voters trying to overturn the assemblany by forcing workers to follow undesirable rules; some safeguards against this can be built into the initial rules, while other safeguards can be put in place as vulnerabilities of the rules are discovered. (This is also common practice in Nomics, that rules are patched up to prevent recurrence of a scam; see for example this article on the history of a scam in Agora, one of the longest-running Nomic games on the net.)

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