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Occupy Wall Street and the purpose of this group (was: Re: First Draft of Payment Links spec published)

From: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:07:27 -0400
Message-ID: <4E96720F.6090903@digitalbazaar.com>
To: public-webpayments@w3.org
On 10/11/2011 05:01 PM, Steven Rowat wrote:
> Considering what's happening financially globally, and especially
> what's happening in the US right now, it's possible that what you're
> doing here will become extremely important much more quickly than
> anyone imagined.

Let's hope so. We're certainly not creating a universal set of payment
standards for the Web purely for the sake of science. We want this stuff
to impact people's lives in a very positive way. To empower everyday
folks with the financial tools necessary to prosper in this day and age. :)

> "No longer will banks take our homes. No longer will banks rob
> students of our future. No longer will banks destroy the environment.
> No longer will banks fund the misery of war. No longer will banks
> cause massive unemployment. And no longer will banks create and
> profit from economic crisis without a struggle," according to the
> online message Monday." ... Very few people would understand me at
> this moment I know: but I think this group is on the frontline of
> that struggle. ... "Call To Action Against Banks" can be found
> here...

I've been very interested in the Occupy Wall Street movement as well, so
thanks for posting those links. I'm glad that the spotlight is where it
is right now as everyone needs to understand how the global economy got
to where it is today.

I do also think that such broad-brush painting of the banks as the
villain, which feels like just retribution to most, is oversimplifying
the state of affairs and may be harmful to the work we're doing here.
Everyone has a piece of ownership in this and I think we should be very
careful to not oversimplify the state of affairs or focus on the wrong
thing.

A "call to action against the banks", if successful, reduces their power
in the world (for better or worse) and replaces it with what, precisely?
I think that is one of the questions that we're trying to answer in this
group. I also think that banks may find their way to finding the work we
do here useful... and in-turn, helping us to make things better as a result.

There are also many good people that work at banks, that care about the
unemployed, the working poor and the middle class. They too have seen
their life savings evaporate because of the recklessness of a few
individuals.

I think the best way forward for this group is to try to help the people
who are struggling and build something that can help them. A universal
payment standard for the Web would enable the following types of
businesses and endeavors, to name a few:

* Crowd-funding of small business loans
* Crowd-funding of local infrastructure projects
* Easy Web-based sales of digital blueprints and manufacturing files
* PaySwarm Authority operators
* For-profit, non-advertising-based blogs
* Open App Stores (site-hosted apps)
* Crowd-funding of political endeavors (lobbyists for the public good)
* Auto-donations to causes with no real infrastructure
* Direct Commerce with people in the Developing World
* Crowd-funded initiatives to cure cancers, and other diseases

Sure, all of these things /could/ be done today, but you need to be a
fairly adept, well-funded, technologically savvy enterprise to set those
things up. We know we have a solution that removes the need to be
well-funded or that technologically savvy. So, let's try to get this
into the hands of people as quickly as we can.

It may seem like we're a small group now, but if we can get people
outside of this group to understand what we're trying to do here, many
will be receptive.

It is vitally important that we keep a finger on the pulse of what
people in BitCoin, Ven, Occupy Wall Street, and others trying to make a
positive difference are doing. However, instead of pointing fingers and
having a call to action /against/ something... let's have a call to
action /for/ something. A call to action for the creation of a set of
universal payment standards for the Web. A set of technologies to
empower people financially and reduce the transactional friction that
exists on the Web today.

I think people will be more receptive to that - anger can only take you
so far... but making the world a better place - that will take us much
further.

-- manu

-- 
Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny)
Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: Standardizing Payment Links - Why Online Tipping has Failed
http://manu.sporny.org/2011/payment-links/
Received on Thursday, 13 October 2011 05:07:53 GMT

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