The Vision

What is it?

ccl iconCreative Common Law is an open-source project aimed at building a legal and economic framework for a free, just, and sustainable society. It serves as the “operating system” for a post-state, post-communist, and post-capitalist age. CCL is the only project of its kind, being: (a) based explicitly on the principles of peace (non-aggression), contract law, and decentralized and sustainable economic power; (b) containing all the necessary policies and procedures for concrete application.

As the operating system of a society, CCL is the legal and communally-agreed platform on which all other “programs” and functions of private businesses, transactions, and activities are built. It is similar to legal systems and economic regulatory bodies in nation-states, except that there is no nation-state, and no one is under any obligation to be a member if they don’t want to. There is no “government” or “public” sector. Membership is voluntary. On the one hand, the economy is essentially market-based: transportation, rights-protection, arbitration, and other goods/services are sold by private entities on the open market. However, this property-based market system is also explicitly structured to prevent all concentrations of power and to protect the most vulnerable. For instance, all businesses are majority employee-owned, and all housing units majority tenant-owned; all persons are inherently equity-holders. It is also environmentally and economically sustainable, with carbon-neutrality as the default, sound money (e.g., no fiat currency), and sound banking (e.g., a cap on lending at 100% of borrower’s net worth).

Thus, CCL facilitates the wealth-producing, incentive-based power of economic markets and capital accumulation, and yet immediately prevents its most notorious abuses by equity-based production. It also facilitates the sustainable, socially-just, and people-centered approach of communitarian and socialist models without abolishing private property, collectivizing the economy, and relying on the coercive powers of the state.

How does it work? (A Quick Summary)

At its base, CCL functions like a voluntary association (e.g., clubs, churches, academic societies, etc.)

Consider the American Economic Association, an academic society for professors of economics. The Association has its own board, different types of membership, different rules, policies, and procedures for governing everything related to the association. Certain people can join (e.g., professors), and they can leave at any time for any reason (can’t afford it, don’t like it, etc.). Members agree to pay an annual fee to receive the association’s benefits (e.g., a hard-copy journal, free access to annual conference, voting privileges, etc.).

The CCL Community works in a similar way, only instead of being applicable to academic publications and a few conferences once a year, it applies to an entire person and their property. It also allows disciplinary action (i.e., law-breaking or “aggression”) to involve physical force (e.g., detainment for trial involving theft). Furthermore, with CCL the association itself is decentralized. There is no governing board or centralized law-making bodies. There are instead cooperative corporations, like corporate enforcers (i.e., rights protection/police) and adjudicators (lawyers and judges). Individuals specifically pay for Adjudicators and Enforcers to receive whatever level of benefits they want or can afford, with provisions in place for the most poor and vulnerable to be protected and represented regardless of their economic status. The CCL text is the “law” or “membership agreement.” It functions like the terms of a contract.

How Does It Work? (A More Detailed Summary)

The “CCL Community” describes the “association” as a whole, with all of its members and memberships, functions, laws, and operations. Generally speaking, the CCL Community is comprised of a participants (“members,” similar to “citizens”) that voluntarily agree to be bound by its rules (CCL). Disputes are resolved by CCL Adjudicators (i.e., “judicial branch”) which settle disputes and issue sentences or orders carried out by CCL Enforcers (i.e., “executive branch,” which are also necessarily rights-protection agencies). All of these entities are privately-owned and compete in the open market by offering and selling their services. Any member of the network is free to participate in these roles if they want. However, all levels of participation requires explicit and verifiable adherence to CCL (i.e., “maximal consent”).

The actual text of CCL therefore functions like a big contract. Specific terms and conditions of membership are set forth in CCL, along with what exactly qualifies as a violation of law. There are a variety of memberships designed to address various life-situations. For example, some individual memberships accommodate to parenting (“Guardianship” and “Minor Membership”) and special circumstances for the disabled (“Special Membership”), while Corporate Membership includes all corporate entities (i.e., businesses, corporations, schools), as well as Adjudicators and Enforcers. Just like with signing any basic contract, membership has terms and conditions and its enforcement costs can vary. Membership can be canceled at anytime and for any reason. (Renewal, however, is not so simple – since criminals would regularly unsubscribe to commit crimes and then re-subscribe when they’re finished to get CCL benefits; all of these contingencies are outlined in the CCL itself.) Membership can be enforced on a per-individual basis, as much as the individual member wants or can afford (just like hiring any other rights-protection agency or private court would – because that’s what it is!).

CCL Core is revised and emended through a similar process as cryptocurrency network updates. Unanimous agreement is required for any revision, and dissenting members forge a “hardfork” version of CCL. Forks are simply parallel versions of CCL. They are cross-compatible with legacy CCL versions to the extent that each version agrees. Each individual member has the choice of deciding ahead of time (if they want) which version of CCL (and which modules, see below) they are comfortable contracting with.

In that sense, CCL is “monocentric”; the same legal system applies to all who ascribe to it. However, CCL is also simultaneously “polycentric” because members of CCL “Core” can add additional legal systems by creating and signing other contracts that build upon CCL Core.

Again, individual members can determine ahead of time who they are willing to contract with on the basis of others’ contractual status if they want to be more supportive of certain legal codes and not others. This allows members to exert non-coercive influence on society as a whole. For example, it can be determined ahead of time that one’s contracts are only valid with those who are members of a contractual program that, say, specifically denounces racial discrimination, or animal cruelty. This is a more advanced way of “disciplining” undesirable consumers and producers than just withholding cash on a per-transaction basis. (It is also a substitute for occupational licensing; consumers choose in advance that their contracts for medical services won’t go through for a CCL member who has not demonstrated passing medical school.)

How is Everything Paid For?

Almost everything in the CCL Community is paid for by voluntary transactions, just like any other good or service on the market (cheeseburgers, haircuts, lawn service, etc.). Annual membership fees are based on an income-based sliding scale at a fixed percentage of 1%, where 50% automatically goes towards corporate Enforcers and Adjudicators for service to the most poor, needy, and vulnerable in the membership, and the other 50% towards a private charity of the member’s choice that directly provides (a) education, (b), food, (c) shelter, or (d) healthcare for the most poor, needy and vulnerable of the membership. Members are welcome to donate beyond the required membership fees.