Holochain Forum

Is Non-Excludable the same as Non/Un-Encloseable?

And vice versa: is Excludable the same an Encloseable?

How similar are these two concepts? What is the difference?

Edit: is unenclosability basically just that it’s P2P and there’s no middlemen?

So that when two peers (peer A and peer B) want to do something there is no enclosure C (e.g. a corporate entity), around peers A and B?

A and B can cooperate while both being sovereign. So is this fact that they are sovereign also include that this happens because everything is above water, that it’s all happening in the open? Or at least visible for both parties (A and B)?

Edit 2: enclosability is the feature of capitalism because it is the ability/strategy to extract a rent, a toll or a tax? (without which the person does not have access to the resource)

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I was confused by the unencloseability metaphor introduced in the Medium series because I assumed it would represent a precise set of technical characteristics. But now I think of it more like a tendency that emerges from certain design/technical characteristics in combination with other factors, especially the human factor of commonly held values.

I have no doubt that some people who don’t hold the values underlying HC’s ability to facilitate unencloseability will figure out how to design HC apps that are effectively encloseable carriers.

Regardless, I would say that excludability is not necessarily contrary to unencloseability. In nature, there could be no life without membranes that differentiate one life form (cell, plant, animal, community) from another. And for the members of a living collective to coordinate effectively, they need to exclude non-members, in some ways, some of the time.

However, if a carrier is enclosed, i.e., centrally controlled, then the controller can arbitrarily exclude anyone from using the carrier. The encloseability precipitates a power imbalance — a shift away from individual sovereignty.

So I would say that unencloseability doesn’t eliminate exclusivity. Unencloseability democratizes exclusivity, which means empowering members to choose inclusivity as well.


Thanks for this! It helps make it clearer for me

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Found this great explanation on Reddit by Eric Harris-Braun, in response to the question - “what are synonyms for unenclosable?”:

zippy314 - 3 days ago

The language of enclosure we use comes from it’s use in political economy regarding the enclosure of the commons. In that case enclosure of the commons was about political rules for removing access to a commons space and converting it into a space owned and controlled by a powerful elite.

In the Holochain case the intent is to restore commons spaces not as a matter of political ruling but simply as a matter of architectural fact. Unenclosable means that no outside party holds the power to stop a group of people who want to play given game together from doing so. Currently the main locus of enclosability in web app architecture is the web-server. Who ever holds the sys-admin rights to that server has defacto abilities to stop the app.

What makes Holochain unenclosable is the combination of it’s three parts, 1) DNA, all agents hold the “rules of the game”. 2) All agents make all their own “plays” locally on their own machines in the form of commits on their source-chains. 3) These commits are shared with validated by, and stored by other “players” on the DHT.

These three things add up to unenclosability in that players who play by a game (a DNA) all know they are doing so. Only the players who want to play are needed for the game to work. Nobody else need be involved. Thus it’s an architecture that’s unenclosable.

Of course there are parts and levels of the system, i.e. the ISPs involved that can effect enclosure to greater and lesser degrees, but Holochain fundamentally can (and will in the future) work over unenclosable carriers as well, i.e. mesh-networks and other network topology and transport systems.


FWIW I reckon exclosure might be an appropriate synonym. Its part of the lexicon emerging around extitutional theory, which is work being done by Primavera De Filippi on Rhizomatic networks: https://cyber.harvard.edu/story/2021-01/introduction-extitutional-theory

A potentially interesting rabbit hole either way.

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