ReflowOS is an operating system for communities who want to create federated and secure economic networks to foster the creation and coordination of distributed value chains.
An economic network is a set of independent agents, which could be individual persons or organisations, who regularly collaborate to create and exchange goods and services. Examples of economic networks include supply chains, joint ventures, municipalities, and bio-regions, but also economic ecosystems surrounding a base resource like the Android OS.
Each economic network has its own rules for accessing and participating in economic activities. These rules, and how they are practiced, constitute the governance of the network. Within the REFLOW context, the goal is to create an economic network that encourages the development of a municipal circular economy in order to:
- Promote the inclusion of people and/or organisations (that inhabit the urban area) in the production processes and in the creation and distribution of the generated value
- Trace the flow of resources in the urban and peri-urban area to reduce waste and increase reuse and recycling practices
- Plan production processes based on availability of resources, vehicles and people within the network, to encourage the growth of the local economy and its participants
- Certify the supply chain of a resource produced locally, to create incentives and narratives between producers and consumers
- Collect data from the territory to promote the creation of new policies, which can scale from a municipal to a national level
Our work is to build and test a set of possible answers to the question posed by Kate Raworth in her book Doughnut Economics: can we produce for human needs, without exceeding planetary boundaries?
Aware of the fact that technology influences economy and politic, we believe that this kind of infrastructures can help those fearless communities/municipalities that want to experiment with economic networks to plan economies that can become a real alternative to the ideology of the free market, a prevailing yet no longer sustainable.
The OS is the entry point to interact with such network, and it can be private and permissioned - leveraging on TOR to anonymize all the data flows - or open and public, giving the possibility to any user to start a node and participate through the web.
It is economic in a way that goes far beyond the merely trading and exchange of resources, but allows nodes to discover each other needs and offers, follow resources transformations around the network, trace back the history of a resource, manage the inventory and coordinate activities together to reach mutual goals.
Such economic networks allow a wide range of usecases to be designed and developed. it may require a slightly change in perspective for participants about how to look at "business" and relationship with economic partners, how to define and follow governances that are not driven only by profit and that can allow the participations of a diverse range of actors, and how to address ecological and political challenges without loosing economic sustainability. We need to think as terrestrial, quoting Bruno Latour.
They're open challenges and without a unique answer, and none of them are solved by the lone adoption of a technology.
As also stated in the valueflows core contributors website:
We are developing software for transitioning to the next economy. Not this economy, the next economy. The next economy must be driven by human and ecological needs rather than profit. And it will be networked.