The Virginia Digital Commonwealth (VDC) project, begun in early 2022, joins leading technologists with community groups, civic leaders, labor, business, and academic scholars to design and deliver a democratic and accountable digital platform for community wealth, service provision, civic participation, climate resilience, and mutual aid. This digital platform will channel resources for democratic economic development – for example, through the expansion of worker and community cooperatives.
Nearly 800,000 Virginians live in poverty; nearly a third live in regions facing the triple- jeopardies of widespread underemployment, service deserts, and heightened climate risk. These ills persist amidst an abundance made possible by the ongoing “Fourth Industrial Revolution” (e.g. metaverse, blockchain, and artificial intelligence). Unfortunately, solving problems of poverty and development is not part of the business model for leading tech firms.
Notably the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 mandates community wealth strategies, requiring that American technology investments demonstrate commitments to “build and retain wealth” regionally through “the expansion of employee owned businesses and cooperatives” and locally rooted finance. These mandates reflect an explicit commitment to community wealth building as an economic development strategy. To uplift all Virginia, the VDC joins expertise in technology development and community wealth building. Our project unites the world’s leading community wealth experts with regional business, labor, farm, and community leaders, and with leading developers of the spatial web, AI, and blockchain/holochain. We employ a community-designed digital technology practice to assure the locally-appropriate development and widespread adoption, use, and benefits of the Virginia Digital Commonwealth.