ANKOSS stands for A New Kind Of Social Science. It is a variant of the title of Stephen Wolfram's brilliant and formidable work on a comprehensive computational theory of nature (A New Kind of Science). The ANKOSS premise is that Wolfram's deep insights into the physical world have important corollaries in the developing world of Internet society. Wolfram's crucial understanding that all evolutionary systems are mathematically equivalent sheds considerable light on the future of Mojo. Let's take a look:
The weakness of modern economics is that it is bogged down in monetary measurement. Economists face increasing criticism of the failure of their tools to account for the true health and welfare of societies. Just as the pre-Newtonian engineers had no means of measuring energy, today's economists have no means of measuring an extremely valuable good: extropic psychic energy. We call it Mojo on dKos, but traditional economists call it "Je ne sais quoi" because they can't measure it.
What is this thing called Mojo?
Mojo is the extropic psychic energy associated with an individual or group. It is not talent; it is not power; it is not wealth. It is merited esteem, the net present value of an individual's future goodness. When we award Mojo on dKos, we do not do so to honor past peformance. The value of dKos mojo is that it makes good diaries and a good diarist more prominent and accessible. Top diarists become front-pagers and their writing finds a wider audience. Mojo is a classic gestalt phenomenon. When we recognize it on dKos, we don't intellectually deconstruct it, but it is decomposable. Mojo is extropic, because to do good one must be able to generate sound structure. Mojo is psychic energy because it has the capacity to change the physical world without having material properties. Mojo is personal, but it can combine in groups in complex ways. Most importantly, Mojo is contextual. In any subculture, the awarding of Mojo reflects the value system of the group. Pirate Mojo is very different from Bhuddist monk Mojo.
Why is Mojo so hard to handle?
Although people have dealt with Mojo in a crude and instinctive manner since the dawn of society, it has always been an elusive and intractable phenomenon. Mojo is not a transactional entity. You cannot buy and sell units of it, nor can it be transferred easily among individuals or groups. Mojo does not aggregate in a simple manner; a group of people with individually high Mojo does not always result in a high Mojo organization. The domain-specificity of Mojo makes it very difficult to equate Mojo across groups. (Will the Olympic gymnast be a good executor of the will?) Mojo is unstable: men can be corrupted, broken, distracted and otherwise altered so that their Mojo diminishes; conversely, they can be educated, redeemed, and transformed so that their Mojo increases; and some individuals are maddeningly erratic. For all these reasons economists, psychologists, and all manner of academic "ists" have avoided Mojo as a subject of inquiry.
So what is new about Mojo in Internet society?
Mojo is an evolutionary phenomenon on the Internet. Evolution is such a pervasive concept that we use the term casually, but a careful consideration of its implications is highly illuminating when studying Internet phenomena. Wolfram's thesis in ANKOS is that there is a single mathematical mechanism underlying all evolution. Certain patterns, once they acquire the ability to replicate, evolve extropically in rich and unpredictable diversity. It is important to realize that Wolfram's thesis is applicable to the memes of Internet society. Mojo is a critically important meme, and it is evolving. Although eBay and dKos are radically different domains, they both have independently evolved Mojo structures. As Internet Mojo structures proliferate and come to encompass hundreds of millions of individuals, they will become important determinants of people's lives and useful tools for the advancement of society. Mankind will attain long-sought precision in the measurement of personal and organizational merit.
The future of Mojo and Mojonomics
To truly understand something, one must be able to measure it. On the public Internet, Mojo is becoming numerically tractable. There is no mystery about my personal eBay feedback rating. It is there for the world to see. There is some mystery about my dKos Trusted User status, but that is because of the deliberate cloaking of the algorithm that calculated qualification. It will immediately be objected that the incovertibility of domain weighting renders localized Mojo useless for social purposes. But this neglects the likely evolutionary path. We can easily conceptualize mechanisms for multiple-domain composite weighting of Mojo, and the more Mojo/domain sets available for an individual, the greater the probable accuracy of a composite Mojo measure.
Our hypothetical composite Mojo measure is not likely to abolish the SAT exam and Medical Certification boards, but the gradual emergence of powerful individual Mojo-metrics on the public Internet will slowly change the way individuals are selected for responsible positions. Several profound consequences can be forseen in the future of Mojo:
1. The de-monetization of esteem. Because wealth is the only social attribute we can measure with precision, and because it has a crude correlation with ability, we use it to award power and responsibility. The current US president has been awarded esteem incorrectly throughout his life because of wealth-derived power. Mojonomics will gradually end this highly defective practice.
2. Mojonomics will reorder society by weeding out vast numbers of frauds, charlatans, confidence men, quacks, tricksters, hype artists, sychophants, and assorted savants of personal misrepresentation. Conversely, it will advance into responsible roles many heretofore undervalued individuals. This reordering will result in vast productivity gains as levels of incompetence and mischief are dramatically reduced throughout society.
3. Politics will be transformed by the elimination of the propaganda megaphone as the primary tool for awarding power to wealth. Mojonomics will align candidates with offices on the basis of highly accurate measures of merit.
4. Gangsterism will decline sharply as a social organizing principle. Whether in the boardroom or in the Federal government, the influence of gangs centered on personality cults will wane as the superiority of high-Mojo individuals and organizations is increasingly recognized.
With regard to money and all it measures, modern society is slick and sophisticated; with regard to Mojo, we are still stumbling ignorantly like witch doctors and alchemists. That is why the American president is a man who would be troll-rated and bounced out of dKos in 48 hours. That is why "Brownie" contributed to the destruction of New Orleans. That is why the Iraq war is the greatest American fiasco since Vietnam. (Douglas Feith probably holds the 21st century record for negative Mojo.) We simply lack a reliable means of measuring the ability of individuals to benefit society. This will change as Mojonomics gives us the tools to rightly measure human potential. Walter Wriston once said that "Nobody stood on a balcony in Florence in 1400 and said, today is the start of the Renaissance." Few people on dKos view this powerful, quirky, and protean blog community as a harbinger of revolutionary social change. But it is. When Mojonomics makes its tardy entry into the halls of academia with a suitably dignified name and an impressive panoply of taxonomy and theory, perhaps someone will note that its ancient origin was the dKos blog.