DAO Diversity and Inclusion

Hello everyone!

I have been invited to present at MoneyLab #7 on the topic of DAO culture, discourse and inclusion. I’m particularly interested in the way we express our ambitions, opinions and objections in DAO contexts.

Do you feel apprehensive about participating in DAOs, due to existing cultures of expression and critique? I am particularly interested in the experiences of women, people of colour, neurodiverse and LGBTQI community members. Do you feel like DAO cultures provide opportunities for greater diversity and inclusion in governance, or risk reiterating established social and cultural biases?

Thank you!

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Hi Denise,

Interesting question! I think actually, you can say yes to both. It does provide opportunities for greater diversity, but if you do not consciously create a direction or podium to do so, like any technology, it will follow and mimic patterns that are already established in society.
Therefore it is so good that diverse communities enter the space as early as possible in order not to have this still initial phase of the tech being designed by a small and not representative group of people.

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I would not say that I am apprehensive but the vibe is quite competitive, so I have stopped initiating any of my own ideas. The competitive and winner-takes-all systems make it uninteresting for collaborative-minded people. As a middle-age woman, I find the general worship of competition as the only methodology of determining outcomes to be off-putting. I am happy to engage in debate when it’s fun, but I have stopped thinking about the DAO platforms as an efficient way of collaboration.

It is not possible to impose a collaborative culture on top of a limited-budget competitive winner-takes-all system. Women in particular tend to find these kinds of cultures disadvantageous (as the outcomes of our existing culture shows), and I think the older you are, the less interested you are in trying to get to the top of anything. So, from that perspective, I think any system that considers competition as the main or only means of succeeding has a built-in prejudice against females and older participants. Some people may disagree with me, but as someone who has been younger and is now older, I can see my own interest in competition (and that of my peers) diminishes with time.

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Thanks Denise for raising this question!
In my opinion the DAO framework is a tool, and as any tool, it can be operated in multiple ways. In order to manifest the revolutionary potential a lot of us see we need to start questioning our behaviors. How much of what we do comes from obsolete systems? What are the blind spots of our limited perception? Diversity and inclusion are necessary to enlighten those spots. It would be of great importance, imo, if everyone, but specially the straight man of the DAO space were questioning their beliefs and behaviors. And I’m interested to discuss ways in which we can support the transformation of patriarchal values to make sure we don’ t repeat the same mistakes of the systems we are fighting against.

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What was in my mind has been typed here, so I will demonstrate my support and encouragement and participation with a story:

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Grace, I’d like to second your view, so perhaps the age (or stage of life or the event horizon) is a large component. Would rather look for collaboration than for pointed competition, to create value together instead of structuring the effort as a grab for a limited resource.

A strictly competitive approach is not sustainable, unless there is an ongoing external effort to put-up prizes. Anyone planning 2-5 years out would insist on being a part of a multi-talented team that can execute together consistently,

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I’m wondering if we’re talking about Genesis here. I don’t feel this competitive and winner-takes-all vibe at all.

True, there is a limited budget, hence possibly some competition between proposals. That would be an objective, structural element, not specific to DAOs, but rather common to the on demand/gig economy. To be fair, we don’t live in a world of unlimited abundance, every organization works with a limited amount of resources, hence there’s always a form of competition towards these resources. It can be hidden. For instance, paid employees may not feel competing against each other as much as gig economy workers. But the competition is just as strong, it just takes place when there’s a new hire, instead of being replayed for each new gig (or in our case, a new proposal).

As far as Genesis is concerned, I feel that this objective layer of competitive mechanisms is largely balanced by the collaborative and inclusive mindset of the community. I certainly do not perceive any prejudice against females (but as a man, I might have missed some issues, so feel free to point me at them) or older participants (I tick this box). Actually, even though I’m not very active in Genesis, I’m checking in on a regular basis, catching up TG and Discourse, precisely because of the inclusive approach which encourages the expression of much more diverse perspectives than elsewhere.

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Yes. We may have different experiences, so your experience is as valid as mine or anyone else’s. You may not feel it is a competitive environment and I may feel that way.
As for the statement “we don’t live in a world of unlimited abundance”, I think that this is not a universal truth. In balanced ecologies, there is evidence of unlimited abundance and constant growth. In fact, this is the story of evolution/the earth. It started as just some water and rocks and all the abundance we see around us came out of … well… nothing. From that perspective, we have some evidence of unlimited abundance on earth. The human constructs called companies also show evidence of unlimited abundance, because many of them just grow and grow and grow for decades or even centuries. So the question might be “what types of organisms can create unlimited abundance?” My sense is that collaborative DAO structures are a step in that direction, but when we mimic the existing economy we end up with something that is not expressing the full potential available to us through the use of fabricated cryptocurrencies and new forms of exchange and governance.

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Since both @Grace and @philh are substantial and eloquent participants, I cannot help but to attempt to resolve such a large difference in their outlook.
To help myself think through this I’ll rephrase the positions, likely unfairly, in a more dialectic way.
Grace: Competition (in nature) is unnecessary and likely suboptimal, is notably present in Genesis, and lowers her participation
Phil: Competition (in business and society) is pervasive and likely necessary, is notably absent in Genesis and that fact increases his participation

May I offer:

  1. Macro analysis of Competition draws from different domains
  2. Individual threshold for presence of Competition is correlated with whether it’s viewed as required and justified
  3. The two individuals have experienced and are now referencing different types and levels of participation
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