Distributed Cooperative Organization is a clunky name that, while accurate, fortunately reduces to “DisCO” which is a lot easier to remember. The DisCO (read all about it in the DisCO Manifesto) takes a friendly but carefully planned approach to people working together to create value in ways that are cooperative, commons-oriented and rooted in feminist economics. DisCOs are amplified by the power of Distributed Ledger/Blockchain technologies, harnessing the utility of tech without being completely tech-centric, emphasizing mutual trust and remembering to have fun.
In that way, DisCOs pose an alternative to Decentralised Autonomous Organizations. Also known as DAOs, these are blockchain-based entities that can operate somewhat autonomously to execute payments, levy penalties, and enforce terms and contracts with minimal human interaction. DisCOs are a proposal to use the best aspects of DAO tech, but applied specifically toward inclusive, locally grounded and transnationally networked cooperatives that focus on social and environmental work. Contrasting many decentralized/ blockchain proposals, DisCOs aim to prioritize mutual (human) support, cooperativism and care work, and to avoid being overtly exclusionary and techno-deterministic.
Based on seven non-prescriptive principles (updated from the original cooperative principles), DisCOs are:
DisCOs operate in the marketplace, fostering generative economic activity and fair conditions while also continually creating commons. The aim is to showcase and share pilot experiences with self-organised workers worldwide, develop free tools and models and thoroughly documenting the progress of the project.
Weaving together practices and principles learned from the Commons and P2P movements, the world of cooperatives and the Social and Solidarity Economy, DisCOs bring forth a proposal for a future of work
Read more in our publication: If I Only Had a Heart: A DisCO Manifesto