economy

Have you thought of a world where nobody would have to be concerned about paying for their basic needs? The unconditional basic income (UBI) project, which will be submitted to a vote in Switzerland next month, addresses this controversial issue that has been the “talk of the country” for quite some time. And last week, hundreds of academics, executives, trade union representatives and the general public gathered in Zurich to discuss the UBI in connection to new technologies, disruptive work and a shrinking middle class, both in the developed and developing worlds. While attending for Horyou blog, I was very interested to see how the basic income discussion would fit with the concept of Spotlight, the global social currency created by Horyou. And I discovered that there are many people studying and working hard for more income equality all over the world.

Yanis Varoufakis - Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network
Yanis Varoufakis – Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network

Named “The Future of Work”, the conference discussed alternatives for the current crisis of capitalism, marked by income stagnation, deflationary process and decreasing interest rates on a global scale. Renowned specialists such as Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek Minister of Finance, and Robert Reich, former US Labour Secretary under Bill Clinton, were among the speakers.

First to speak was Robert Johnson, executive director of the Institute of New Economic Thinking, for whom the root cause of our society’s challenges is a mix of political pessimism, technological disruption and a political system whereby economic growth is powered and consumed by the wealthy few. “We are living under fear of social unrest caused by the increasingly precarious conditions for workers”, he said.

Robert Johnson - Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network
Robert Johnson – Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network

One of the signs of this precarity is the rise of sharing economy platforms like Uber and their impact on working conditions. A panel called Disruptive Work presented cases of companies like Uber and Zipcar, whereby members are proposed flexible conditions while not enjoying the same rights and income they would be in a “traditional” industry. “My father had one job in his life, I had six in mine, and my daughter will have six simultaneously”, said Robin Chase, co-founder of the car sharing platform Zipcar. She is optimistic about the new working model – according to her, 85% of people are not happy with their current jobs and the so-called “peer inc” companies can tap exponential learning and lead people to interesting jobs instead of automated ones.

A system where a basic income would guarantee people’s survival would give everyone freedom to chose a meaningful job without having to work hard to make ends meet. For the critics of the project, it would lead to a situation where many people would be discouraged to work at all. Some experiments made in Africa, India and Germany, however, show the opposite. Michael Faye, co-founder of the non profit GiveDirectly, shared his experience with cash transfers in extreme poor villages in Africa. “The only social group who stopped working were children”, he said. “There is no evidence that they become lazy and spend the money on drugs and alcohol. In fact, people go back to school and start working for the community”. The same phenomenon happened with the Mein Grundeinkommen experiment in Germany – from the 36 people who benefitted from a cash transfer which guaranteed their survival, only one spent it on luxuries. “Most people changed jobs and started spending more time with their children”, says the executive Amira Yahia.

Robert Reich, who worked as a US Labour Secretary and now is a professor at UCLA, is one of the biggest supporters of the project. “Even the Silicon Valley is starting to be interested in the basic income project. Companies are concerned about people not being able to afford the products that they manufacture, as the middle class is shrinking”, he said. In his opinion, a basic income would create an aggregated demand that would address such issues as inequality and social insecurity. “The central question is not economic but ethical. Who is the government working for, and who has the influence and power? How do we use the abundance and distribute the gains produced by society?”, he asked. Reich is not convinced about the effectiveness of a basic income, but believes it is “inevitable” to create a system which promotes the circulation of income.

Robert Reich - Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network
Robert Reich – Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network

The closing speech was Yanis Varoufakis’. Famous for his controversial statements about capitalism and the financial system, he stated that the social democracy tradition is dead and that capitalism has been agonizing since 2008. “The new system transfers the value of production towards the financial sector that remains insolvent. This created a deflationary process and today, half the global economy is on negative interest rates”. Varoufakis went on to explain that the working class can no longer ensure itself through social insurance, as youngsters find it very difficult to find full time jobs, and wages are stagnating. “This is aggravated by the fact that low wage routine jobs would be rapidly replaced by artificial intelligence”.

The basic income, according to him, is a necessary tool to stabilize society. “The struggle is ethical as we need to overturn the dominant paradigm of capitalism. The basic income is a dividend for the collective production market, it is about giving money to the underserving, to the rich, the surfers, people who are collectively producing wealth”, he advocated. At the same time, a redistribution of wealth would benefit central banks as well by working as a counter deflationary tool, and promote the creation of value at work, as people would have the right to turn down a job they don’t feel connected to. “We need to create a system which aggregates capital and creates a stream for everyone. It’s a trust fund for all our children”, he concluded.

Written by Vivian Soares

Special thanks to Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute and Neopolis Network for all the support and pictures.

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The Horyou community embraces more than 1,000 organisations and 220,000 users from more than 180 countries.

Most organizations involved in social good and humanitarian projects have experienced the challenge of finding capital to promote impactful actions within their communities. In this area, like in many others, we see money flowing from big companies and foundations to big NGOs and associations – and they are surely doing a good job – but we also see small and medium sized organizations who are tireless in their efforts to make a difference in the world through their humanitarian projects with lesser support and funding.

This unevenness has been of major concern to Horyou since its inception, when it begun building its social network for social good.

Horyou has since grown to embrace 180 countries with a community of 1,000 organizations and 220,000 users around the world, becoming an expression of the diversity of civil society at a global level. Horyou now has enough experience and means to take its mission to the next level by creating Spotlight, the First Global Social Currency.

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Engaged and active organisations on Horyou platform will increase their chances to receive Spotlights from Horyou proprietary algorithm.

In a world where social disparities are widening due to speculation and greed, technology is a powerful tool of citizen empowerment. Spotlight intends to bring inclusiveness to the ones who are bringing positive change to the world by reconciling capital and social media. Our goal is to connect great companies and people who want to leave a legacy to the world through positive actions with associations who are, in real life, doing good.

With the Global Social Currency, the first of its kind, Horyou’s goal is to connect innovative and CSR corporations with people and organizations who make great efforts to leave a positive legacy to the world through their involvement in social good.

In the past few years, we have seen a significant development of the concept of crowdfunding, whereby single contributions, however small, are important to the edifice under construction. Horyou’s aim is to go even further in the process of inclusive access to capital.

By connecting its members with committed organizations on its social network platform, Horyou seeks to broaden funding opportunities for social good.

Spotlight will be funded by Horyou’s individual members as well as by its partners: firms, corporate foundations, institutions and innovative start ups. Each Horyou member can provide and/or get support from any other member in the form of one or more Spotlights. The platform will include a proprietary algorithm that is set to redistribute a significant share of the capital received from Horyou’s partners to the most active users and organizations.

Associations and social actors can – and should – use the Horyou community at their own benefit, by communicating their projects and actions and sharing each other’s causes. Social media engagement and activity are keys to receive Spotlights from Horyou’s community members and algorithm.

Connect for good with Spotlight!

Contributions from the Horyou Team. Compiled by Vivian Soares.

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Spotlight – the first global social currency

Let’s start with a true, harsh fact: money is not always going to who would use it to produce positive impact. Money, billions of it, is hoarded or being used for speculation, when it could be used for far more socially constructive purposes. Yet, it should.

Environmental organizations striving for the conservation of biodiversity and the limitation of the effects of climate change, small groups of people fighting against inequalities, devastating diseases or abuse, or again modest individuals using their weekends to provide assistance to their needy fellowmen, or project holders proposing positive and innovative answers to the many challenges of the global world we all live in – they are all developing meaningful, life-changing projects in their communities for which they all are in need of urgent funding.

Horyou has decided to face this problem by playing a totally distinctive game with a new set if uncommon of cards. The times are challenging and Horyou, who truly believes that inclusiveness and innovation are the best ways to promote social change, was inspired by the idea of creating a fair capital circulation using social media, one of the most powerful tools from our times. This is how Spotlight, the First Global Social Currency, came to life.

By acquiring Spotlights, any person or corporation can use the online platform to fund organizations and cause direct impact on projects they feel connected to. Horyou members can also earn Spotlights only by being empathic and engaged, and by promoting social good on the platform. They would also potentially earn even more from the community by giving back and circulating the currency.

The concept of Spotlight is not exactly the same as that of the traditional currencies. Of course it does have some of their features like a daily exchange rate defined by supply and demand. But by addressing some of the biggest challenges of capitalism – the inequality caused by unfair capital distribution and speculation -, it builds social impact on promoting meaningful and purposeful circulation of money. And when not used or treasured, Spotlight loses its value after a year. No speculation. That’s what makes it so innovative.

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“The Horyou community will get stronger for good.”

Horyou has found partners willing to bank on this major innovation. Spotlight is funded by CSR, companies, corporate foundations and other institutions, as well as by Horyou users and members. While supporting the community with their subscription, Horyou partners can share their own social initiatives and use Spotlight to directly fund sustainable projects, as well as artists and causes. As more partners and members around the world will embark on that unique adventure of the first truly global social currency, the Horyou community will get stronger for good.

Spotlight is rules-changing, collaborative, inclusive and transversal. It is a new way to use money, based on conscious capitalism and on the idea that investing in social good to build positivity is better than hording treasuries just for the sake of making even more money. As the first Global Social Currency, Spotlight opens a bright future for social inclusiveness: by the end of 2018, Horyou expects to benefit over 300 million people on all continents. It is challenging, but so is creating a new currency. Get on board and see for yourself!

To read more about the Spotlight, read our latest press release.

By Vivian Soares

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It is a universally established fact that misbehavior in finance and bad judgment in monetary policy were two major catalysts of the world recession that has touched almost every economy over the last few years. Financial institutions are the driving force of an economy; they allow businesses to produce and consumers to spend and so their actions have a very real impact on our lives.

There were times when austerity measures would reinstate reason and measure in that seemingly wild arena but now, technological revolution with the hyper connectivity and infinite openings that it offers, is providing the world of finance with a chance to make a real social impact; and this time, for good.

This is happening right now in Ireland and specifically at Bank of Ireland, in Grand Canal Square, in Belfast, whose Head of Innovation, David Tighe, I met at MoneyConf.

We had an energetic chat on how banking has a real chance to turn its reputation around and start being a facilitator rather than a drain on the economy. He told me how Bank of Ireland has finally acknowledged the impact of start-ups on Ireland’s economic growth, as they are now a core element of their strategy.

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To that effect, Bank of Ireland has set up a workbench in its Grand Canal Square branch with plans to expand to the major cities across the country. Put simply, it is a space where start-ups can come any day to work and build their business in an innovative and vibrant environment with free WIFI, free coffee and snacks, a network of like-minded people, and staff to answer all financial questions.

BOI Innovation Hub is completely aligned with Horyou when it comes to the interdisciplinary model as both believe in the power of cross collaboration and sharing of ideas. Diversity should be celebrated and the best results come from convergence of different experiences, thoughts and skills.

I challenged David on the fact that a bank is still a profit seeking institution; so what’s in it really for them? He said that as an enterprise bank, ‘start-ups are our product’. He believes that with the right advice and support, start-ups can grow, create real value and become driving force of growth in the economy.

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I was also happy to hear that along with supporting potentially high return companies, sustainability is key consideration; entrepreneurs are realizing the competitive advantage of long-term servicing. And this is not just about environmental impact; sustainable business is built with a long-term focus in mind, be it environmental or economic.

This is why Bank of Ireland, and hopefully many more institutions, will continue to support start-ups; the end goal of solely financial gain is changing to that of financial gain plus social good. They have society in mind, and we hope that from now on, other banks will too.

By Dearbhla Gavin

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