When I thought about launching my own crowdlending platform, my tagline was “putting relationship and responsibility back into the heart of finance”. Over the past 18months, I’ve realised that we are in an interim phase, before that goal can be achieved. I call it the “Robin Hood Business Model”. The intention is not to steal anything from anyone but to facilitate a redistribution of resources from the capitalist economy to the emerging social and collaborative economy.
3 sources of all modern day problems
I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but I did this course at MIT last year called https://www.edx.org/course/transforming-business-society-self-u-lab-mitx-15-671x. Inspired by Otto Scharmer and his book “Leading from the Emerging Future”. It’s a brilliant read. There is one image which has helped me greatly in understanding the world in which we live and why I, like so many others, feel the need to change it (and that this change has already begun).
It is so simple I suspect my kids would understand it. No need for long winded theories on macro-economics and climate change. There are 3 gaps which are the sources. The first is a gap between us and the planet on which we live resulting in exhausting the resources available to us. The second is a gap between those who control the resources and those who don’t and as a result of the first 2 gaps, there is a third gap inside of many of us between what we feel and what we are currently doing.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this image since the recent newspaper reports on how the rich have been hiding their money away http://www.bbc.com/news/world-35954224. This is very much about the second gap. Those who control the resources, financial and otherwise, also have the means to manipulate the system so that the gap continues to grow.
I often thought about this in the context of how people are rewarded in companies. The more I developed within my company, the more I earned and the more capable I was of paying for my own car. The young guy just starting has less resources but has to pay for his own. The same goes for bonuses. Not only was your salary higher so even if we applied the same percentage across the board, the rich would still get richer, but in addition the percentage increased the higher up you go.
I understand that the stress, the effort etc… is often higher at the top but I still believe that this system simply contributes to widening a gap which we need to reduce. Otto refers to this as the shift from “Ego (centricity) to Eco (system). The well being of “we” is more important than the well-being of “me”.
Fortunately, the number of people in the “we” camp is growing rapidly. A friend of mine, Paramita, shared this with me yesterday and I thought it fits perfectly here http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/17/postcapitalism-end-of-capitalism-begun?CMP=share_btn_link
Robin Hood Club
The only slight issue with Paul’s theory is that capitalism is still working for too many people, especially the people with the resources and money. So, like Robin Hood, I have a mission. I would like to help redistribute wealth, starting in Belgium, between the people who have too much money on their savings accounts with negative interest and the social and environmental entrepreneurs who need those resources to make a difference.
In short, I am forming a “club”. If you have savings which you would like to invest in start-ups (Tax Incentive of 45% deductibility if you pay taxes in Belgium), or if you have a social/environmental project for which you require help/financing. Contact me! This can be done in other ways, via crowdfunding platforms (limited number) and via specific funds (even less …) but I would like to start with the club. In part, this comes back to the first line in this blog about “relationship and responsibility”. I would like the members of the club to know each other, get connected and share. It is redistribution, not by outsourcing responsibility, but by taking it.
My own personal business model is built on this Robin Hood theory. I earn a living from the people who can most afford to pay me so that I can spend more time helping the people who cannot. It is a redistribution on a very small, personal scale. It is a new form of “value based pricing” whereby the value refers to the value created for “we” rather than only for the person I am helping.
So, you are welcome to join the journey from “Me” to “We”. Be warned, you may have to wear tights