In graduate school, the lucky person who proposes the project that some external funding authority wants to pay for in order to obtain a peek at the results gets to do fascinating experimentation in some area that was of interest, and is able to learn new things in ways that would not have been possible without the availability of the external funding; meanwhile, the project funding source, whose interests happen to coincide with those of the graduate student, gets information that would otherwise cost substantially more, since graduate students don't bill the funding sources for their time.
Of course, the interests of many graduate students "happen to coincide" with those of corporations and government offices and dedicated research foundations, etc., mainly because research is a difficult thing, and it is hard to learn the proverbial diddly squat about material that might catch your interest as a grad student without some funding for your project. (Certain cynical voices in the background asking about the number of graduate-student trips to Sweden or South America or the Fiji Islands that are financed by such grants should be ignored).
I am no longer a graduate student except at the "University of the Internet", and I don't have any funding for this project at the moment. This is not due to a dedication to principles that exclude funding, I just haven't found anyone yet who wants to pay for an experiment in non-hierarchical decision-making. Yeah, that, in a nutshell, is what this project is all about.
To actually run such an experiment--as opposed to, say, writing about what I would do if I could and posting those writings on this site so that my ideas, at least, get heard--involves the necessary participation of some people. Right at this specific moment, I can't say how many would be necessary to conduct a meaningful experiment. Umm...would have to be enough people to completely blow away conventional belief systems about how many people can work together effectively without someone being in charge. Off the top of my head (and the top of my theory-structure of an implementable design, which will be discussed further here), I'd say it would be nice to have a bit over 700 people participating.
There might be overhead, i.e., costs of the experiment above and beyond paying the volunteers which I definitely cannot do (ergo, the term "volunteers".). I am aware of certain endeavors built along similar lines, especially those that rely on religious explanatory foundations for why the endeavor is a wonderful thing, that ask that the individual participants fork over some money as well as their time, because after all, they will have their lives changed and so on. Personally, I think that sucks. If any given utopian design isn't sufficiently more efficient than its absence to generate the necessary efficiencies to eliminate the need to charge dues or participation fees, it must not have much going for it. My assumption from the start is that if there is overhead, which for awhile there won't be because I don't overwhelm easily, by the time it becomes an issue, the design should be creating enough efficiency in enough ways that are collectively lucrative enough to replace what cash would buy in the traditional system to allow us, collectively, to launch a money-acquisite project or two that would handle the overhead. This in spite of the fact that the acquisition of money is not a goal here in and of itself.
Some of you are no doubt thinking this is naive--that if the mechanical aspects of the project can be turned to the earning of money, this will soon become its only real function. I certainly understand that concern, and I can't deny that it is a concern of mine as well. On the other hand, if the dynamics of the proposed project result first and foremost in implementations that earn money for the people who deploy it, that means that conventional companies and management processes are replaced by what we are proposing and postulating at least internally, even if each company and industrial group continues to compete within the patriarchal capitalist money-system for profit and so on. This might not kill the project in relationship to its intended purpose, but instead might set the stage for corporations in relationship to other corporations to explore trans-corporate networks based on the same principles, which would be our triumph. Meanwhile, on the other hand, if the system I (or we) design here via this project is truly more efficient--and it needs to be if it is to succeed--then by definition it is more robust and, in addition to being able to contend in the existing capitalist market, it should simultaneously be able to address needs that are ignored or actively trampled upon by the money system / market system of economc exchange.
In summary, despite not being a candidate for anyone's PhD, I consider myself a serious theoretician and researcher in the academic tradition, and if anyone wishes to see the ideas and project proposals from this site rendered in actual real-life experimentation, I am not by any means opposed to accepting funding, nor, I suspect, would any collective formed of similar-thinking peoples be likely to feel much differently.
The somewhat ancient text (i.e., circa 1982-5) from which these pages trace their ancestry is copyright to myself, but that is predominantly for ego reasons. If you see an idea here and think you can use it, do so, with the confidence that I will not sue you for idea-theft or pursue royalties on your venture should it be successful. (I do, however, militantly retain the right to say in whatever public or private space I find appropriate, that I did have these ideas, and may claim credit for their implementations in any similar forum).
Onwards to the particulars...