The core development team (aka "Bob and Lynn") lives among the woods and small farms of rural southwest Wisconsin, USA. We don't have much cell phone coverage, but we do have very good internet! We are helped by a few others located around the world.
The networks who use the software also help us create it. For example, the Value Network Software (NRP) was designed by Sensorica as much as the programmers.
We are trying to use the skills we have to respond to the times we find ourselves in, with crises in the economy, climate change, and peak resources.
There are lots of experiments going on all over to address the problems we all see. We want to help groups of people who are trying out alternate economic forms that are more fair. These economic groups tend to be networks, or at least they want to network with other similar groups.
They also usually need some operational infrastructure to make their work more productive, and existing software options don't really work well for these groups. We think we can help out.
We have quite a few decades of software development experience, in all kinds of industries, but especially in manufacturing supply chains. Supply chains, in fact, are economic networks. They are just not yet next-economy networks.
We develop the software only in close collaboration with groups who are working on the ground. We've found that if we consider the networks we work with to be equal partners and contributors, we make lots more progress. This means the software supports these groups very well. As we work with more groups, the software gets more able to support different kinds of groups, and also just better.
The software learns as we do.
Then, we work in spirals, between the specifics implemented with groups and the generalities we can glean from this work, then back to the specifics. ValueFlows is one effort towards capturing our learnings of recent years, integrated with the learnings offered by other contributors to the standard.
We think these are encouraging times for next-economy software, in spite of the incredible challenges facing us and the ecosystem we live in. It seems there is more agreement on direction, more collaboration. Things are starting to come together.
We're interested in collaborating with other software projects who see themselves as part of the same set of solutions, and other groups who want to work in close collaboration with this kind of software developmet, and would jump on opportunities to do so.
The capitalist system needs to be replaced by something better, or it will be replaced by something worse, which is already happening, as the system begins to fail.
Fortunately, the system develops the forces that will replace it, for better and for worse.
Among those forces are the Internet, the World Wide Web, and open-source software developers.
The Web could coordinate a new and better economic system. Unfortunately, it has been taken over by Facebook, Google, and the various government intelligence agencies for a new form of capitalism, Surveillance Capitalism. That is preparing the new and worse replacement system. In other words, the same networked communication capabilities can be used to lead us in two very different directions: a combination of 1984 and Brave New World, or a free-and-equal society.
Fortunately, the open-source software developers of the world are developing a replacement that will be more difficult to make money from, and so less attractive to capital, and also more difficult to surveil.
The other cancerous outgrowth from the same networked coordination potentials that fed open-source software is the so-called "gig economy", or "non-jobs" like Uber driver and DoorDasher, where people no longer have jobs, but do uncertain piecework led by an app on their phone. This is yet another new addition to the capitalist class structure: the Precariat.
Also fortunately, the open-source software developers are joining the cooperative organizers to create worker cooperatives for those kinds of gigs, where the drivers and dashers have some control over their conditions.
We are working with many of those developers on the software, the operating system, for a new and better economic system.
We are not the only people who are working on this large not-yet-fully-formed project. We are only working on some of the software. The people who are organizing real-life projects, like worker cooperatives and mutual aid networks, are doing much more important work. Likewise the people who are doing political and union organizing and educating everybody about how to transform the system. But they will need the software to help them coordinate their activities.
None of this is enough. The Antarctic is melting. Miami will be under water. Species are dropping like flies. Fertile soil becomes sterile growing medium. The cosmic achievements of the whole of humankind are turned against us by the 1%. Capitalism is even failing capitalists.
People will also need to cooperate with all the critters in their natural environment. Not like what is happening now. Needs to be a whole cooperative ecosystem. Obey the biological limits of the planet. Humans have been taking too much and poisoning the rest and driving species to extinction and even messing up the climate. Greed has to go!
We need a massive effort. But it can start by people proving they can do small parts of the job, and then uniting with others.