Loanership[edit | edit source]

Loanership is a transitional concept that can be considered a hybrid of property and commons, or a specific type of renting.  In the transitional community (such as a VIAAC), a community or organizational trust (such as a Knab) holds all property.  Members then "rent" property, for which they pay a deposit, but the title-holding trust keeps only the portion that pays for any costs incurred during the rental period.  Incurred costs include stored energy use (such as battery power or gasoline), dissipating material use (such as use of powders or sprays), wear (such as write cycles on memory, discharge cycles on batteries) and damage (such as vandalism).  Incurred costs can also be negative, if the use pays for previously-incurred costs (such as repair) or reduces future incurred costs (such as modification).  On return, incurred costs are appraised, and taken from the deposit, with the rest returned to the user.

There are many advantages to this scheme, most importantly its design as an in-place modification to the incumbent system (IS).  This means that utilities and protections available for the IS may also be useful for the transitional system.  Indeed, the legal structure of a trust, and the framework of contract law, are both essential to the success of loanership.  The trust keeps the property in a sort of commons, relatively; Contract law allows the property to be "rented" with voluntary participation but compulsory consequences for exploitative, negligent, or destructive behavior.  The use of deposits provides additional security against exploitative, negligent, or destructive behavior, and the return of all but the incurred costs provides users an incentive to improve the design and infrastructure of the products in order to reduce those costs.  The creation of cyclic flows and adoption of renewable energy is implicit in this.  The combination of all factors enables groups with low-trust to interact reliably and peacefully.

There are some disadvantages, of course: The use of property and prices means that there are still externalities that cannot be included, particularly ecological and social costs.  These will only be internalized indirectly, through the closing of flows into cycles.  There is a need for a notary to create the trust that will hold the organization's property, and to confer the property to the trust, which may incur taxes or fees.  There is also a need for prosocial lawyers to create an open legal structure that can be used with minimal modification to ensure secure, reliable, and simple renting from the trust.  As an early transitional structure, logistics managers will have to be appointed to perform the functions that are not automatic.  This is an additional skill requirement that must be fulfilled, and leaves the communal property vulnerable to mismanagement or possibly even corruption.

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