Structural analysis and design

If our problems are structural but our thinking is not, we won't solve them the way we want to without creating other problems. Contracts are the 'deep structures' of infrastructures and services and the frames of inquiry into making improvements. We can improve 'quality of life' by making small and specific structural changes to contracts and agreements, promises and propositions. That requires a new kind of analysis and design. That is why we're developing a new system called STRCTRL, with a language, library, and authoring tool.

According to Hans-Georg Gadamer, nothing exists except through language. And that 'understanding' is a matter of conceptual articulation through conversation in a common language. Contracts codify understanding and agreement about who is promising what, why, how, when, and where. Conversations in a language common to all are more inclusive than in a technical language mostly lawyers understand. And when the articulations are in a simple format everyone can 'read and write', we can accelerate the development of mutual understanding, cooperation and trust.

Those are the reasons why STRCTRL is first and foremost an interlanguage for authoring, editing and publishing contracts. It borrows from many disciplines so anybody can learn it regardless of their background and education.

In this new language, inputs are in the form of simple declarative statements and outputs are executable scripts. We can articulate even the most complex idea of a contract as a simple sequence of propositions, with each block describing a set of promises. One contractual sequence can call another across time and space, with each sequence a choreography of demand and supply, based on conditions for harmonious, orderly interactions. Declarative statements are the structural units of design. Societies are organized using thousands of such statements of various categories, classes, and types.                                              

Sequencing the societal genome

The practical form of STRCTRL is a software platform for 'sequencing' any human concept of infrastructure or service into the basis of societal contracts, including but not limited to those that are legally enforceable. Sequencing is the process of examining, exposing, abstracting, expressing, explaining, and proposing the structural designs of infrastructures and services. It is neither in lieu of the advice and due diligence lawyers and accountants provide, nor does it obviate the need for designing interactions in physical realms. It supports all existing practices and disciplines.    

Sequencing is a deliberative process that brings out the creativity and imagination on both sides of the contract (demand and supply) as they participate in dialogue. A 'processing engine' captures the dialogue and converts it into structural elements such as propositions, promises, and statements. Forms, sheets, and grids define simple and elegant interfaces for input and output to make STRCTRL easy to use and intuitive. Familiar functions such as editing, commenting, attaching, sharing, and messaging facilitate the dialogue and interaction.

Part of the vision is to organise knowledge and experience from across the world on what makes some contracts more 'beautiful' than others. There will not be a beauty contest but there will be a library of building blocks available for use free of charge or under various types of licenses. Your compositions and sequences can therefore have blocks others have written, including those that are peer-reviewed. You can produce and procure content, with the possibility of creating versions and variants that become popular and are used in other contracts.