Introducing the T-corporation

T as in transparent. How transparent? Transparent enough to satisfy Transparency Extremist:

Every ledger, every account, every transaction held or made by a transparent corporation should be open and auditable by the world. Commercial confidentiality be damned: we have a right to know.

I propose a “soft anagorist” approach, making this level of disclosure voluntary rather than mandatory, since mandates violate other cherished principles. For this purpose, we need only invent a new category of business—a new paradigm in organizational design—which we’ll call the transparent corporation, or T-corporation. An example of such a planned paradigm shift is the B-corporation, or for-benefit corporation. The purpose of the B-corporation appears to be to serve as a platform for triple bottom line accounting. The purpose I am proposing for the T-corporation is absolutely maxing out financial disclosure, all the way down to the transaction level, and disclosure thereof not only to stakeholders, but to the world at large; the public record. One obvious casualty is even the pretense of privacy. I myself consider privacy a lost cause, but when introducing new ideas, objections must be overcome. To that end, I propose a minor kludge in the interface from the journals to the public record. For journal entries documenting cash flows to or from individuals, the name of the party is overwritten with the designation “an individual.” These individuals will not be numbered or otherwise differentiated in the public version, to allay fears of probabilistically inferring the identity of unnamed individuals through pattern recognition. In summary statements derived from the public journals, perhaps the sum total of transactions with individuals could be labeled as transfers to and/or from the “social domain,” which is to say, the world of humans. An example of this concept minus the “privacy policy” would be the OpenBusiness license as proposed by ixnaum. OpenBusiness might be a good way for those of us who are informational exhibitionists to volunteer information.

Once a T-corporation or OpenBusiness has been established, it might adopt a standard operating procedure of seeking out others of its kind and preferentially doing business with them. This incorporates the “closure seeking” property of Angel Economics. With a sufficiently large and sufficiently “tight” network of T-corporations and OpenBusinesses, it should be possible to shed some serious light on large portions of the supply chain.

There are a number of ways in which the establishment of several T-corporations might serve the cause of anagorism. One is by putting the strong efficiency hypothesis to the empirical test, particularly expanding its application to the world of tangible goods, rather than the sterile world of the markets in commercial paper. If price signals are anywhere near as strong an attractor as is claimed, there should be about the same amount of variation in prices among deeply transparent vendors as among conventional enterprises. Even if the results of that experiment turn out not looking good for anagorism, perhaps the cause of agorism can be advanced. If the obliteration, at least locally, of information asymmetry (pdf!) can be effective, the market economy should in theory be more competitive; closer to the agorist ideal.

About n8chz

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7 Responses to Introducing the T-corporation

  1. Seems like a good idea. I’m just wondering, if it’s voluntary, what’s the incentive to do it? Other than just being a good citizen and doing the right thing, of course, which isn’t all that effective in today’s cutthroat reality.

  2. n8chz says:

    Perhaps a higher level of disclosure is more attractive to some investors, and is almost certainly more attractive to some consumers. Failing that, some might wish to found such an entity, even as a money-losing proposition (within reason) for research purposes—to see if it can be done, if nothing else, and perhaps to be able to study, in real time, the processes of a (hopefully) going concern that is not a black box.

  3. Pingback: P2P Foundation » Blog Archive » Introducing the Transparent (T-) Corporation

  4. Poor Richard says:

    I always suspected you were an information exhibitionist….

    Nice proposals. I know how finicky you are about coercion, but remember it’s relative– a basic assumption underpinning the rule of law. The social contract, especially the democratic type, is preferable to the law of the jungle and a plethora of petit tyrans.

  5. Pingback: Nonproprietary cities | In defense of anagorism

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