Institution vs Commitment model


New Member
Sep 8, 2015
I am currently taking the MOOC China300.1x: Chinese Thought: Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Science hosted at edX, which I think is relevant in these times of balancing responsibility and ethics of participating in economics and society, with the individual place and ontological value in society. Bitcoin, after all, represents a philosophical and ideological statement, and therefore, it should involve a broader study of philosophy and ideology, in order to understand various ideological positions.

The “institution vs commitment” debate comes up in positing the theory of economic incentive for transitioning from a tribal band and communal society towards a modern civilization. In a small community, for instance, it is simple to keep track of debts and awards. However, on a large global scale among strangers and anonymous people, the economic incentive for the individual becomes an existential problem. What is in it for the one to benefit the many?

Two models have been constructed to deal with the economic issue. The first, called the institutional model, involves the carrot and stick concept, also known as the reward and punishment model, set up by the institution or the state.

The second model, called the commitment model, involves developing and internalizing commitment to new norms of civilization or shared values, which lead to a transformed society.

In this respect, I categorize Bitcoin Philosophy under model of commitment, because Bitcoin was designed to be stateless or decentralized. In order words, in lieu of the state, the existence of Bitcoin depends on the commitment of shared values, or consensus.

The type of ethical system that is compatible with the commitment model is the one that requires cultivating new dispositions. Both the Confucians and Daoists recommend this ethical system. It is not the same as a state-based system based on maxims, laws or regulations.
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Bloomie