Intelligent Head Quarters http://www.intelligenthq.com Business intelligence innovation network for growth education change Sun, 23 Nov 2014 07:00:03 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Phenomenal Growth In The Alternative Finance Market? http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/phenomenal-growth-in-the-alternative-finance-market/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/phenomenal-growth-in-the-alternative-finance-market/#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 07:00:03 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44181 alternative finance

Nesta´s recent report on alternative finance

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alternative finance
Phenomenal Growth In The Alternative Finance Market? Intelligenthq

Phenomenal Growth In The Alternative Finance Market? Intelligenthq

Alternative finance is out there and making headway fast. We have already seen alternative finance forms such as crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending making considerable progress in helping people to achieve their financial goals. As Peter Baeck, Liam Collins and Brian Zhang point out in a recent report published by Nesta: “Say financial innovation and what comes to mind for many is the investment banks… that were at the centre of the financial crisis. Yet in recent times we’ve seen the term become associated with a new type of finance provider…”

This very innovative report tried to give answer to the following questions:

  • What type of people and organisations use the different alternative finance models ?
  • Why do people and organisations seeking money turn to alternative finance platforms?
  • What makes the model attractive to people with money to donate, lend or invest
  • What is the socio–economic impact of alternative finance and how do organisations and businesses perform after fundraising on alternative finance platforms?
  • How do people find out about various alternative finance models and what do they think of them having used them?

Some of the conclusions of the authors are that crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending are using the Internet to link up those that have money and those that need it. This helps individuals, community groups and businesses get the money that they need to make progress, when they would not necessarily be able to get this money elsewhere. Specifically, Nesta has led research into these forms of alternative finance. Working together with the University of Cambridge as well as the ACCA and PwC the organisation has carried out a major survey into this sector – the largest of its kind so far. This has included getting the views of people generally as well as those that have used these sources of finance to raise funds.

Age of funders. Image source: Nesta

Age of funders. Image source: Nesta

Phenomenal Growth In The Alternative Finance Market

Some of the major findings of the research show phenomenal growth in the alternative finance market. For example, the Nesta report shows that in 2014 the alternative finance market is expected to grow to £1.74 billion. This is a growth rate of 161% between 2013 and 2014. Additionally the alternative finance market grew by 150% between 2012 and 2013. It is anticipated that the UK alternative finance market will have contributed £1 billion of growth and working capital. This has been received by 7,180 small and medium sized businesses. Interestingly, as Nesta points out this would be the same as 2.4% of banks lending to businesses by the close of 2014. This has led to growth for small and medium sized businesses. In particular, 70% of SMEs that used peer to peer lending have found that their turnover has grown since gaining access to this type of funding, and 63% reported a growth in profit.

Alternative finance has also had some other encouraging developments. For charities the use of alternative finance has been particularly encouraging, with three in four backers of projects with a social focus reporting giving funds additionally to what would otherwise be given to charities. Overall, the study found that one in seven UK consumers used one alternative finance model. An area of growth that still needs to be worked on is encouraging more small and medium sized businesses to take up these types of alternative finance, and less than 10% of UK SMEs reported that they had used an alternative finance approach to get access to monies. That said, the study also found that peer to peer business lending has achieved an average growth rate of 250% and it is projected that by the end of 2014 that this method of raising funds will have “facilitated loans worth £749 million.

Growth of the crowdfunding market. Image source : Nesta

Growth of the crowdfunding market. Image source : Nesta

Findings of the report were also broken down into a range of different sectors. In the sector of Community Shares it was found that the average amount raised was £174,286. Only 24% of investors in these types of projects were concerned with achieving a financial return. With Debt Based Securities the average amount raised was much higher, at £730,000, and investors in this area valued being able to make a positive social impact in 85% of cases. Donation Crowdfunding achieved an average amount raised of £6,102 and in addition 27% of the donors offered to help or volunteer with backed projects. Meanwhile Equity Crowdfunding achieved an average amount raised of £199,095. Encouragingly 60% of the companies that secured funding had increased employment leading to greater opportunities for some.

Findings for P2P Business Lending showed that the average amount borrowed was £73,222 and interestingly that 83% of lenders in this area were men. P2P Consumer Lending achieved an average amount borrowed of £5,471. In this area 46% of those that raised money used the loan to purchase a vehicle. Pension Led Funding saw an average amount raised of £70,257 with 60% of these organisations having five or fewer employees and 7% were sole traders. Meanwhile Rewards Crowdfunding led to people raising on average £3,766. Interestingly in this area 72% of the funders knew the person running the campaign either in person or by reputation.

 

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Peace One Day – Non for profit and New Social Business Models http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/peace-one-day/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/peace-one-day/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 07:00:52 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44164 peace one day

An annual day of global unity, a day of intercultural cooperation

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peace one day
Image source: peace4missing.ning.com

Image source: peace4missing.ning.com

How can you use social media and digital tools to enhance and amplify big themes and preocupaptions for mankind? This is a big area exploding and the power of big data and digital have been enabling organisations to reach bigger audiences and call attention for big issues and let people know how everyone of us can contribute to change.

A strong topic as peace is something we all hear about since school days.  How do you believe in being able to live in a peaceful world at least for one day? Well, with this in mind and using digital and social media tools, one day, 15 years ago an ordinary citizen decided to create the organization Peace One Day. The organization promoted there idea heavily using creative digital tools and a social media ecosystem to take it global.

The organisation’s goal is to “institutionalise Peace Day 21 September.” Peace One Day has carried out a variety of campaigns in a range of different areas to show that the day works. These have included activities in the arenas of education, dance, film, music, sport, art and online.

Peace One Day argues that many people in all countries worldwide have been active on peace day, and that equally many organisations have “carried out life-saving activities in areas of conflict”. Peace One Day was founded by Jeremy Gilley in 1999. The organisation is a non-profit that has grown considerably.

Gilley’s initial foray into this area was starting to question humanity and peace through the use of film. He created a documentary which tracked his activities in working towards putting in place an annual day that would be about non-violence and when there would be a ceasefire.

The United Nations took up Gilley’s idea in 2001 and the vote was unanimous. September 21st was assigned Peace Day. This has led to the current objective of institutionalising the day, with a goal of making itself sustaining, or as Peace One Day puts it: “An annual day of global unity, a day of intercultural cooperation on a scale that humanity has never known.”

Peace One Day has achieved some admirable successes. In particular, on Peace Day in 2008, there was a reported 70% reduction in violent incidents in Afghanistan. Gilley has also created a number of coalitions to embrace different types of peace. For example, there is the NGO Coalition, the Reducing Domestic Violence Coalition, the Student Coalition, the Faith Coalition, the Media Coalition, the Corporate Coalition and even the Schools Network.

Gilley became a spokes person for his amazing project. In the following video he explains how what seemed like a “crazy idea”, to persuade the world to try living in peace for just one day, became institutionalized and a reality. Why 21st of Setember ? Because of his grandfather.

Gilley has also got big business involved in Peace One Day, and in 2012 McKinsey & Company analysed the 2012 Peace Day results. The organisation generated a report that noted that people in 198 countries were aware of Peace Day, and that in total 280 million knew what it was. In 2013, figures almost doubled that, and it was found that 470 million people were aware of Peace Day, a jump of 68% in just one year.

The goal is to build on this and to bring awareness of Peace Day to 1.5 billion in 2014 and to 3 billion people by 2016. The overarching theme driving is the concept of “Who will you make peace with?” It is hoped that this will lead to a considerable reduction in violence and in particular in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Great Lakes region in Africa where a three year project is being run to raise awareness. Among the life-saving activities that have taken place on Peace Day have included significant efforts in Afghanistan.

Indeed, Peace One Day reports that since 2007 as a result of Peace Day it has been possible to immunise 4.5 million children against polio in areas that are hard to reach at other times due to conflict. This has been possible due to collaboration between the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the Afghan health authorities and the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as various health NGOs.

In addition, as a result of Peace One Day activities in 2010 alone, in 31 countries, 88 life-saving and humanitarian activities were undertaken by 28 organisations. Peace One Day has achieved support at the highest levels and works to spread its diplomatic network to make sure that governments get involved, as well as intergovernmental organisations and parties involved in conflict.

Noteworthy endorsements include that of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, as well as the UN SRSG for the DRC Martin Kobler, the UN SESG for the Great Lakes region of Africa, Said Djinnit, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, and the UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague, among many others.

Some of these endorsements may be watched in video form on the Peace One Day website. John Lennon said, “Give peace a chance,” and no doubt if he were still alive today he’d be a firm advocate of Peace One Day. We can all hope that Peace One Day achieves its targets, and indeed that maybe one day there is no need for the activities of Peace One Day, as the world will live in peace. We’re a ways off but just maybe it could happen.

The social media channels for the event are the following:

https://www.facebook.com/peaceoneday

https://plus.google.com/+PeaceOneDay/posts

https://twitter.com/PeaceOneDay

https://www.youtube.com/user/PeaceOneDay

 

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Flying Over A Landscape Of Disruption http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/flying-over-a-landscape-of-disruption/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/flying-over-a-landscape-of-disruption/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 07:00:42 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44103 Flying over a landscape of disruption

Why International Civil Society Organizations Should Embrace Innovation

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Flying over a landscape of disruption
Flying over a landscape of disruption

Flying over a landscape of disruption

Major disruption has been taking place all over the world. Some kinds of changes that have happened, particularly the technological ones,  have been unimaginable beforehand. Writing for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Burkhard Gnarig and Linda Heyer (2014) provide the example of the change that occurred when people moved from using analogue to digital cameras and how that change has destroyed well established businesses. One example given is Kodak, that prided itself on its film and this was one of its main revenue sources. The company was obviously hit very hard. Gnarig and Heyer question whether this kind of disruption could also happen with international civil society organisations, and come to the conclusion that yes, this is indeed possible and these organisations need to change their business models.

What are International Civil Society Organizations

By international civil society organisations (ICSO), Gnarig and Heyer mean entities such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace and Oxfam. It is suggested that there are big changes that could impact the work that these organisations do. These changes are threefold according to Gnarig and Heyer. The first is explained to be planetary disruption. It is proposed by Gnarig and Heyer that these organisations need to change what they are trying to achieve with this, because our lifestyles are destroying the planet and because as they put it:

“The window of relatively cheap mitigation and painless adaptation is closing.”

This means that rather than addressing the symptoms of this problem, these organisations need to start looking at the causes and tackling those. The second point is that political disruption is occurring as well. Gnarig and Heyer point out that in a range of different provinces, countries and regions there is interference with and violence against civil society activists. It is suggested that these different organisations need to work together to overcome these problems, but that they do not have a history of cooperating with one another, which is to their detriment.  Technological disruption is the third area of challenge, and with this it is explained that the help that people need is changing. People can find donors for causes on internet platforms, argue Gnarig and Heyer. This leads to challenges for the business model of such organisations.

New business models for international civil society organizations

Disrupting ICSOs Intelligenthq

Disrupting ICSOs Intelligenthq

Gnarig and Heyer explain that there is an ICSO business model that can work for these types of organisations, which was developed by the International Civil Society Centre. This model is focused around three main points. The first is a clear mission and social purpose which provides structure for the way actions will be carried out as well as for income generation. The second is action, which are the activities that help the entity to reach its mission and offer a solid grounding for income generation. The third is income, which means finding the income to fund the organisation, and that this must be achieved with the organisation’s mission and values in mind.

According to Gnarig and Heyer, three major strands of action need to take place that would help these types of organisations to better navigate the different types of disruption that they face. It is proposed that the first of these is diversification, since over-reliance on one business model is too high risk in the current world order. The second is adaptation, since ICSOs need to keep on top of the developments that are coming up and understand how these will affect them. This needs to be an ongoing task so that changes can be better foreseen, and adaptation can take place quicker than it does currently. The third is innovating. Gnarig and Heyer point out that taking an innovative approach will help these organisations to come up with new ways of working that will help them to be able to survive.

There is much work to be done, regarding being ready for disruption and addressing it before it even happens. Gnarig and Heyer explain that this will require these types of organisations (ICSOs) being more entrepreneurial and less introspective. They need workforces that are talented and flexible and able to drive change. It is also explained that these workforces need to be able to celebrate successes and learn from failures so that they can move forward more successfully. A final recommendation for navigating innovation is building networks and alliances with each other and with others to help them to be able to deal with the challenges ahead.

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The Economics Of Happiness: Measuring Wellbeing http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/happiness-economics/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/happiness-economics/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 07:00:06 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44138 Happiness

Article written by Maria Fonseca and Paula Newton Since the surge of the field of positive psychology, during the nineties, more interest was placed in scientifically measuring and understanding what brings us fulfilling happiness. Many prominent …

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Happiness
The Economics Of Happiness: Measuring Wellbeing

The Economics Of Happiness: Measuring Wellbeing

Article written by Maria Fonseca and Paula Newton

Since the surge of the field of positive psychology, during the nineties, more interest was placed in scientifically measuring and understanding what brings us fulfilling happiness. Many prominent economists and philosophers throughout history, including Aristotle, addressed the importance of happiness. What is happiness or rather “eudaimonia” as the greeks would say, which meant “flourishing of the spirit” ?  What is the importance of happiness and how to create it ? These and many other questions were asked by Aristotle in his work on ethics and politics.

If until the end of last century no real interest existed to look for the links between economics and happiness, economics slowly awakened for this emergent field in the past decade.

Quote by Aristotle

Quote by Aristotle

What is Happiness Economics ?

According to scholar Carol Graham  The economics of happiness is an approach to assessing welfare which combines the techniques typically used by economists with those more commonly used by psychologists. It typically treats such happiness-related measures, rather than wealth, income or profit, as something to be maximized. Happiness Economics is the study of what makes people happy. It takes in concepts of positive and negative, life satisfaction, well-being and quality of life among others, commonly linking happiness with economics and subjects like sociology and psychology. The subject focuses on increasing happiness related measures instead of a focus on wealth as an indicator of success. Economists dedicated to this emergent area have even invented a fromula: Micro-econometric happiness equations have the standard form: W_{it} = \alpha + \beta{x_{it}} + \epsilon_{it}

In this equation “W” is the reported well-being of individual, which is “i” at time (“t”) and (“x”) is a vector of known variables, which include socio-demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

Carol Graham is a known scholar and a fellow of the Brookings Institute, that has written various books linking economics and happiness. One of her latest books questions the credibility of the methods and data gathered, when trying to measure such a subjective issue as the one of “happiness”.

Challengers to the field of Happiness Economics suggest that happiness is too subjective to be measured effectively, especially across different cultures. However, Happiness Economists have sought to find ways to measure this well despite the challenges that exist. In particular, quality of life and well-being are important areas of focus in this regard. Happiness Economists challenge the idea that wealth creates happiness, and in particular researchers have found that while higher earners may have greater satisfaction with life, the emotional wellbeing of people only increases with money up to a point and not beyond that point.

As Christian Kroll (2014) explains, writing for The Guardian, people working in the field of Happiness Economics undertake surveys to determine how satisfied people really are. The goal of Happiness Economics is to understand what really makes people happy rather than assuming it is money. It is a relatively new area of study, as Happiness Economics barely existed prior to the millennium development goals. Kroll points out however; one important issue with the Happiness Economics debate thus far is that it has over-focused on what makes people happy in the richer nations. One resounding finding as a result of the studies so far is that money has not made people any happier, and increased GDP since the Second World War has not increased general happiness.

Maybe you are wondering what the point of all this is, but according to Kroll understanding happiness can be built into development policy to help people to build happy nations. Kroll outlines his own study that was carried out across 70 countries and looked at data relating to 100,000 people. His study was published by the Institute of Development Studies, and interestingly noted that what makes people happy from country to country deviates quite a lot. In Kroll’s mind at least, this means that:

“Customised development goals should take into account what makes people in each country happy rather than strive for a one size fits all model such as the MDGs (millennium development goals).”

Kroll explains that in particular his study shows that factors that were previously considered fundamental to the happiness of all people vary in importance a lot between countries. These three factors are income, health and education. This has important implications for development, especially in these specific areas. This means that the preferences that people from different countries have regarding these three areas needs to be used along with quantitative data about the way in which they live in order to be able to really change lives and make a significant difference to people’s wellbeing. Customised development goals have an important role to play in this regard, according to Kroll, and understanding what people want and what will really make them happy needs to be built into such goals so that success can be achieved.

Happiness Economics has unearthed a range of strange and unexpected findings. For example, a study carried out in Russia in the 1990s showed that increasing unemployment led to increased wellbeing in both employed and unemployed people. This was explained as being a consequence of reduced expectations of people and people were less likely to feel as bad about their own set of circumstances when their family and friends were unemployed. Other work by academics has suggested in an article of the same name that if money does not make you happy then you are not spending it right. In this research it was found that being happier with money revolves around spending it on experiences rather than materialistic goods, spending small amounts on temporary pleasures, focusing on paying now and consuming later and donating money to charities rather than keeping it all to yourself.

Do you know what really makes you happy? What is important to you in achieving your own wellbeing and satisfaction with life? Maybe it is about time you found out….

If you are truly interested in objectively learning more about economics and happiness, you can watch the following video, which is a lecture given by Carol Graham, the most prominent scholar in this interesting flourishing field.

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Who Will Govern The Internet By 2030 ? http://www.intelligenthq.com/technology/who-will-govern-the-internet-by-2020/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/technology/who-will-govern-the-internet-by-2020/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 07:00:42 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44132 Who Will Govern The Internet In 2030 ?

The speed of change even on the Internet is picking up pace. Every day there are new innovations that change the way that people interact, work, socialise and live. From driveless cars, to wearable technologies, …

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Who Will Govern The Internet In 2030 ?
Who Will Govern The Internet By 2030 ? Image source dvice.com

Who Will Govern The Internet By 2030 ? Image source dvice.com

The speed of change even on the Internet is picking up pace. Every day there are new innovations that change the way that people interact, work, socialise and live. From driveless cars, to wearable technologies, 3 D printers and the internet of things, disruptive innovations pop up everyday like pop corn. The crucial issue here is that Internet is becoming even more intrinsically linked to our lives than ever before, especially with the commencement of the Internet of Things, where inanimate devices will be linked to the Internet. This brings up questions about how the future of the internet will be. Xiaodong Lee (2014) asks who should protect and regulate the internet. These are good questions which at the current time many do not have a clear answer to. But this is already being debated in many areas, and Xiaodong Lee reports on the Global Agenda Council experts’ commentary.

It is explained by Lee that Gartner reports that by the year 2020 there will be 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things. This degree of networking will transform our environment. Is all this rapid pace innovation good news ? Many question themselves about it. In Lee´s blog post, the author reports that Anil Menon, the President of Smart+Connected Communities at technology giant CISCO believes that connecting objects to objects will not necessarily be helpful in and of itself. Rather, the connecting of things to processes and then using the data that results to change the way that we operate will drive tremendous change. However, Menon does believe that there will be some standards that need to be put in place with regard to network operability so that the power that is being created will be accessible to everyone. This is likened to communication between doctors who are unable to speak the same language – the same is needed for data according to Menon.

Amazing opportunities lie in wait, according to Menon. For example, it is explained that TaKaDu is a company based in Israel that provides cloud-based water management to cities as far flung as in Singapore and Australia. There is no need to be locally based to achieve this because everything can be managed online. At the same time, Menon suggests that there will be other transformational changes in the way that we operate. For example, doctors will be able to provide diagnoses without being physically present in many cases. This will be a particularly important development in developing countries and in rural areas, where there will be increased access to experts.

How to Govern The Internet In The Future? 

It is these types of issues that leads to the questions regarding the governance of the internet. Who governs the Internet after all ?  According to Wikipedia, no one governs the Internet, as the Web is a globally distributed network comprising many voluntarily interconnected autonomous networks. It operates without a central governing body , rather having a  rizomathic network in which each element, sets and enforces its own policies. In an interesting video published by Newspaper The Guardian, one learns how seven key holders coming from all over the world, are actually the ones who could switch off the Internet, as they together control security at the core of the web. Are they the ones who govern the Internet then ?

Looking closer at the situation, in reality the people and infrastructure that developed the Internet is still very much within Western institutions. For example, Lee highlights the fact that: “Assignation of IP addresses and online namespaces is handled by ICANN, based in California.” And: “Authority over the Internet’s Domain Name System  (DNS)ultimately lies with the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration.”

There have been calls to stop this type of US dominance over the Internet. However, one of the problems with that is that there are few people in some countries that are technologically equipped to be able to contribute to regulating the Internet. Lee points out that the West benefits from great knowledge and information, but Africa has much less ability to contribute in this way. However, this inequality will need to be addressed so that developing countries can contribute at bodies like ICANN, explains Lee. In fact, Lee proposes that no one country rules the Internet and that a new body is set up to handle this, with input from a greater diversity of nations.

Others point out that there are challenges with governance given the speed at which the Internet is evolving. It is suggested by Professor Helen Margetts, Director of the Oxford Internet Institute that while governance is desirable and while this should be more globally focused, it is hard to be able to really govern it differently than it is now, since authorities are unable to keep up with the speed of change. Margetts argues for a “multi-stakeholder” approach where there is no one point of failure and no overruling dominance by any one set of interests. There are concerns that if any one body had an overreaching power then there could be censorship and other issues. Margetts also raises concerns over the amount of information that organisations like the NSA and GCHQ have relating to individuals.

Margetts questions whether existing laws can be enforced online at all, such as fraud, copyright, libel and data protection, as well as freedom of expression. Some areas create risk, such as paedophilia, and there are questions about how such issues should be managed. However, Lee suggests it will all shake out in the way it should, likening the situation to the fact that there were almost no cars 100 years ago, while now there are 5 or 6 million cars in most big cities and yet people know how to handle them and manage the situation. It is an interesting analogy… we will all see what happens in the future.

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The Social Life of Money – Book Review http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/the-social-life-of-money-book-review/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/the-social-life-of-money-book-review/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 07:00:05 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44108 Cover of book "Social Life of Money" by Nigel Dodd

Looking at money as a social relation, a project

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Cover of book "Social Life of Money" by Nigel Dodd
Cover of book "Social Life of Money" by Nigel Dodd

Cover of book “Social Life of Money” by Nigel Dodd

In 2014, Nigel Dodd published a ground breaking book, The Social Life of Money, questioning what money is, how it works, what we think it is and how currencies are created. Indeed, Dodd explains that one of the problems currently is that our understanding of what money is has not kept up with the reality of new types of money that come from different sources, or so says Princeton University Press, reviewing Dodd’s informative book. Nigel Dodd is a Professor of Sociology at London School of Economics.

The Social Life of Money is a book that raises many interesting questions such as:

 “What counts as legitimate action by central banks that issue currency and set policy? What underpins the right of nongovernmental actors to create new currencies? And how might new forms of money surpass or subvert government-sanctioned currencies.”

As the Princeton review of the Dodd book explains, the author attempts to address these difficult problems. What would happen if we would look at money as a “process”  ? as the result of a relationship ? One of the main focuses of the book is to understand how money can be removed from bank domination and mismanagement, and how it can be better managed. The book considers various utopian ideas based on the philosophical musings of people like Nietzsche, Benjamin, Deleuze and Guttari, among many others. As a result, the book comes up with and proposes new ways of thinking about money.

A review of The Social Life of Money by Kirkus takes a different perspective on the points that are made. For example, it is explained that following the backdrop of the 2008 financial crisis it is time to “reconsider the nature of money”. This is especially true, argues Dodd, given the fact that new forms and systems of money are being conceived of and set into place all of the time. Take bitcoin as just one example of such a new monetary system that is emerging. Indeed, Kirkus points out how Dodd explains that the 2008 financial crisis highlighted a “complex and dynamic configuration” of various different factors and relations on which our system of money depends. These include social factors, economic factors and political relations. Nigel gave the following lecture on his groundbreaking work, at the London School of Economics:

Dodd points out that the causes of the monetary crises that we have experienced can be found in the history of capitalism. Indeed, Dodd explains that central banks were finding themselves under pressure to engage in “currency wars”. These wars led to devaluing of currencies as an approach that was allowing countries to be able to deliver economic recovery, at least partly through boosting exports. Dodd argues that some believe that the financial crisis of 2008 was even responsible for the collapse of several governments around the world as well as the Arab Spring that occurred during the first part of 2011.

Dodd does not believe the problem to be exclusively a banking crisis, despite the way it was portrayed in the media to the general public. This suggests that all banks are the same and does not consider the complicated nature of different financial institutions that are fragmented in and of themselves and do not necessarily even work with one another very well. This leads Dodd to purport that:

“The financial system has grown absurdly disproportionate relative to the rest of the economy: distorting capitalism, widening inequality, damaging society and exposing its key public institutions to unacceptable risks.”

And Dodd argues that this has become accepted by political parties that are both left wing and right wing.

One of the main aims of the book overall is to review the actual nature of money, and specifically its social nature. This means that Dodd sets out to address how money and credit systems could be organized differently and realigned. As he explains, it requires looking at the relationship that money has with a range of different factors such as its own value, its connections with the community, its links with power and the state, its ties to ritual and religion and the way that money is also associated with  identity, self and culture. The need for all of this is brought about, according to Dodd, due to there being a tipping point for money that may have now been reached, and that this has been proven by the financial crisis. This leads to questions about who should produce money and how banks create credit.

Fans of Dodd’s work will also be pleased to know that this London School of Economics professor of sociology has penned other works in the past: The Sociology of Money and Social Theory and Modernity.

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Civic Crowdfunding: Funding The World We Live In http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/civic-crowdfunding-funding-the-world-we-live-in/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/civic-crowdfunding-funding-the-world-we-live-in/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 07:00:18 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44113 The statue of liberty is considered to be the first historical civic crowdfunding campaign

In 1885, one of  the most famous New York iconic symbols, the Statue of Liberty was inaugurated. What not a lot of people might known, is that the statue resulted from what can be considered …

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The statue of liberty is considered to be the first historical civic crowdfunding campaign
The statue of liberty is considered to be the first historical civic crowdfunding campaign

The statue of liberty is considered to be the first historical civic crowdfunding campaign

In 1885, one of  the most famous New York iconic symbols, the Statue of Liberty was inaugurated. What not a lot of people might known, is that the statue resulted from what can be considered to be the first civic crowdfunding campaigns in America. Joseph Pulitzer’publisher of the New York World started a fundraising campaign that attracted 120, 000 people, most of them giving the campaign less than a dollar. It resulted in $100,000 ($2.3M in today’s dollars) that were used to make the pedestal that would later on receive Lady Liberty in 1885.

Crowdfunding has allowed many amazing projects to take place that may otherwise not have been feasible. It has allowed regular people to post their project online and really drive change. New products and services have been developed through crowdfunding that change the way people do things. And crowdfunding has also been used to raise money for civic projects. This however, is not all good news. Civic crowdfunding is all well and good, but Rodrigo Davies (2014) writing for the Stanford Social Innovation Review asks an important question of it, which is:

“When the excitement of the crowdfunding campaign is over, who keeps the project going?”

Indeed, Davies argues that this is perhaps one of the biggest concerns of those groups that want to use crowdfunding to fund projects that will serve communities. As Davies puts it, if crowdfunding is used to develop wasteland into a public park that is beneficial for all, who will actually pay the gardeners on an ongoing basis to keep that park running effectively. The problem is that the crowd does not pay for that, and crowds do not have to stay together as a group once the initial funding is over with. In addition, as Davies explains, the government is very unlikely to step in to help out in these cases, as the government maybe did not have the money to do the project in the first place, so support is not gained from that source for future maintenance. Crowds do not offer maintenance, and as Davies sees it, this presents challenges.

Davies argues that the solution to this is to start looking at crowdfunding as a means of achieving the maximum impact, both civic and social right now, using resources “at hand” and taking what Davies refers to as a “spend down philanthropy”. With this approach, organisations can use a campaign organiser or group of people that direct the spending of the money. This approach needs to seek to steer away from bureaucracies that can become unsustainable. A spend-down project is not a one-off approach in the way that crowdfunding can sometimes become. Crowdfunding can be used to demonstrate to communities what can be achieved. This can set off other activities that also bring about improvement.

In the following video, Davies gives an interview where he explains the results of his research about civic crowdfunding:

Examples of civic crowdfunding campaigns

Davies provides an interesting example of how this was achieved by civic crowdfunders in Brazil. In Sao Paulo, civic crowdfunders raised money and spent it and then went on to do the same again for the same project or for similar projects in different areas. The artist collective Parede Vida for example, has  funded a public art project using crowdfunding. The project was called Pimp My Carroca, and it was initially funded in 2012. The project “decorated the city’s waste picker carts and gave workers access to basic healthcare services.” The campaign raised more than its target via the crowdfunding platform used, which was a Brazilian one named Catarse. Given that the organisation achieved so much media coverage and great successes, the group was led to carry out a new project elsewhere in Brazil (in Curitiba). The second campaign is explained by Davies to also have exceeded its targets.

Another interesting example is a project that was carried out in Greenpoint in Brooklyn, New York. In 2011 the residents of this part of the city came to the decision to transform a vacant lot into a community garden which would also serve as an agricultural laboratory. They set about raising a relatively small sum and they achieved their target. Then, a year later they lobbied for more money to maintain the project. This year Davies purports that the group aims to fund much more considerable improvements, such as including solar powered lighting and rain water harvesting as well as equipment storage. That is to say that the Java Street Community Garden is using crowdfunding to help maintain its project and keep it ticking over.

Crowdfunding for civic purposes definitely raises questions about sustainability as Davies points out, but as has been shown, when planned and executed in the right way, there is no reason why civic improvements cannot be brought about by this means of funding. As Davies puts it, crowdfunding could actually be a big “game changer” in this area.

Some websites dedicated to civic crowdfunding mentioned by Davies are the US based site neighbor.ly and the UK one is Spacehive.

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Emotionally Intelligent Leadership http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/emotionally-intelligent-leadership/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/emotionally-intelligent-leadership/#comments Sun, 16 Nov 2014 07:00:03 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44105 emotionally intelligent leader

There are many theories banded around about what makes leaders successful and the skills needed to become excellent at leadership. Perhaps none is more interesting than that of emotional intelligence. Leaders that are emotionally intelligent …

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emotionally intelligent leader
Emotionally Intelligent Leadership Illustration by Maria Fonseca for Intelligenthq

Emotionally Intelligent Leadership Illustration by Maria Fonseca for Intelligenthq

There are many theories banded around about what makes leaders successful and the skills needed to become excellent at leadership. Perhaps none is more interesting than that of emotional intelligence. Leaders that are emotionally intelligent are claimed to have greater self-awareness, be better at handling their emotions, using emotions in a productive manner, using empathy to read the emotions of others and managing relationships better. All of these are skills that leaders can benefit from. As Tammy Day, an accredited Emotional Intelligence Practitioner explains:

 “Research suggests that emotional intelligence is twice as important as technical skills and IQ in maintain excellent performance and can be the defining factor of great leaders”.

Day goes on to point out that Daniel Goleman who drew attention to emotional intelligence explained that the “ingredients of excellent performance” were 70% emotional intelligence and only 30% IQ. It might be argued then that mastering the skill of emotional intelligence, and building on this can help leaders to increase their effectiveness very considerably and this should be an approach that all leaders consider.

One very interesting application of emotional intelligence is outlined by Day which shows what other companies could do to develop these skills in their leaders. The approach was put in place by Sanofi, a global pharmaceutical company. The individuals were assessed for their emotional intelligence as a part of the programme, and then the programme that was designed for emerging leaders focused on building emotional intelligence skills. One area focused on in particular was improving self-awareness. It was noted that by the end of the programme participants had increased their self-awareness by 50%, while they had also achieved a 60% shift with regard to being aware of other people. In addition to this, 60% demonstrated an improvement in emotional resilience. All of this is clearly useful in becoming more effective at the task of leading.

But what are the factors that really make these leaders more likely to be successful? Writing for Fast Company in 2014, Harvey Deutschendorf points out explains the five aspects of emotional intelligence that that help these types of leaders to be more successful:

The five traits of the emotionally intelligent leader Intelligenthq

The five traits of the emotionally intelligent leader Intelligenthq

Self-awareness – Deutschendorf explains that being aware of the emotions that we have, what sparks them off and how we choose to react to them is a fundamental part of emotional intelligence. Indeed, he explains that leaders that can better manage their own emotions are also better able to respond to and manage the circumstances that they find themselves in. This helps them to be better at thinking on their feet to come up with solutions to the problem. Meanwhile, those that are emotional find that their emotions cloud their ability to be able to do this.

Awareness of others – when leaders are aware of themselves, they will also become more aware of others and the emotions of those other people. This helps emotionally intelligent leaders to be able to better separate themselves from other people’s emotions by not taking them personally and not judging them. Again this leads to more effective problem solving through not reacting.

Listening skills – the art of listening is a skill that many people never learn. Instead of listening and taking on board what the other person has to say they spend a whole conversation thinking about what they are going to say next. Stepping back and really hearing what another person is saying helps the emotionally intelligent leader to review the emotions that sit behind the comments that the person is making. There is more to hearing than just focusing on the words. This helps these leaders to be able to better connect to their employees,

Awareness of emotional atmosphere – as explained by Deutschendorf leaders that are good at emotional intelligence are able to sense what is occurring emotionally when conversations happen. They are also able to sense how the whole working environment feels. They are “tuned in” and this helps them to be able to better understand what is going on with people and teams and why. This leads to team members really having a much greater belief that their leaders understand them, which in turn generates trust and loyalty.

Anticipate reactions and respond effectively – of course, all of this leads emotionally intelligent leaders to be able to better react to situations before real damage is done. They can deal with problems up front, and especially dangerous rumours, and this enables them to assist employees through times of change that can be more challenging.

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New Challenges To Market Democracies http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/new-challenges-to-market-democracies/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/new-challenges-to-market-democracies/#comments Sat, 15 Nov 2014 07:00:41 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44049 roman senate 2

Over the past couple of decades it has become clear that a new epoch is emerging. After World War 2, a number of practical solutions were put in place to help both Europe and Japan …

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New Challenges To Market Democracies Intelligenthq

New Challenges To Market Democracies Intelligenthq

Over the past couple of decades it has become clear that a new epoch is emerging. After World War 2, a number of practical solutions were put in place to help both Europe and Japan bounce back. There is a sense the policies and institutions set in place to do this are now in decline. Society has also changed. In many developed countries, but particularly in Japan there are major concerns about the aging population. There has also been a global economic recession that led people to question how the market should operate. This has led market democracies to feel unsteady about what is in store for them.

William A. Galston (2014) of the Brookings Institution argues that :

“We have known since Aristotle that stable constitutional democracy rests on a large, self-confident middle class in an economic order not riven by extremes of wealth and poverty.”

Indeed social and economic policy has been set up to support this, he opines. He explains that after World War 2 this idea of liberal democracy where people progress and reap the rewards of their work pervaded for many years. However, it is explained that this is now changing.

Challengers to these market economies are seen by Galston to come from both outside and inside these economies. Outside market democracies, he argues, those in rising economies such as China, India, Russia and Brazil (the so-called BRIC nations) have created competition that leads to difficulties in more established economies to be able to sustain their own growth. From within the system the rules and “social guarantees” that have been put in place to protect people, such as those making it hard to sack workers have had the unfortunate effect of leading to difficulties for the younger people in these populations to find jobs. For example, Galston argues that among the young unemployment is more than 50% in Greece and Spain. This is a threat to the established order, because young people that do not have jobs, particularly those that are well educated, are known to be “a classic source of instability.” At the same time, even those that live in countries that have fared better, such as the USA, have found that their wages have only just kept up with inflation, leaving them worse off than before the recession. Things look bleak for the children of today.

Employment versus Education

Galston explains that the challenge of overseas competition has led to cheaper goods from elsewhere, produced using low cost workers. This led to US companies having to reduce costs, and so they looked for production overseas. They also invested in technology to increase efficiency. One of the consequences of the changes is that jobs that need mid-level skills and offer an equivalent middle of the road level of payment have become fewer and further between.  Erik Brynjolfsson, a scholar and economist that has studied the effects on technology in society alerts us for the fact that technological progress will definitely leave behind a lot of people, as it develops.  As he says:

“There’s never been a worse time to be a worker with only ‘ordinary’ skills and abilities to
offer, because computers, robots, and other digital technologies are acquiring these skills and abilities at an extraordinary rate.”

Maybe we can see the effects of these on the stagnating wages, meanwhile, those at the top found their salaries escalating much faster than the rate of inflation. These people have “unimaginable wealth” while the rest find it harder to keep their heads above water.

What has emerged from these changes is that a good education and training is no longer a sign that a person will necessarily have a rising standard of living. This means that the middle class that is so desperately needed to hold a market democracy together, may struggle to rebound. Galston points out that some of these issues can be resolved by tax, which is the same solution given by Thomas Piketty, a french scholar that published recently a major work of scholarship that investigates the reasons of inequality. For Galston, the tax code could be used to redress the balance between wage increases and productivity gains. Additionally, to deal with the problem of those accruing obscene amounts of wealth, tax could be used to curb this, or at least not to give these people even further preferential treatment than they already have.

The main argument of Galston´s article is that a combination of globalisation, technology and the extreme wealthy has done much to erode the very foundation of market democracies. It is clear to many that a new paradigm is needed to drive prosperity and progress for those that have been struggling, through taking steps to strengthen the middle class among others. We have a choice – to strive for widely shared prosperity or to carry on letting living standards decline in market democracies. It remains to be seen which path will be taken. Part of that path, will necessarily have to be a new way to “make business”.

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Peter Thiel And The Dream Of The Monopoly http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/zero-to-one-notes-on-start-ups-or-how-to-build-the-future/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/zero-to-one-notes-on-start-ups-or-how-to-build-the-future/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 07:00:35 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44074 Peter Thiel And The Dream Of The Monopoly Illustration by Maria Fonseca For Intelligenthq

“Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future”

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Peter Thiel And The Dream Of The Monopoly Illustration by Maria Fonseca For Intelligenthq
Peter Thiel And The Dream Of The Monopoly Illustration by Maria Fonseca For Intelligenthq

Peter Thiel And The Dream Of The Monopoly Illustration by Maria Fonseca For Intelligenthq

“All happy companies are different: each one earns a monopoly by solving a unique problem. All failed companies are the same: they failed to escape competition. “ writes Peter Thiel in his last book : “Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future”.  “Zero to One” is an interesting and useful book about startups in general, and technological startups in particular. The book brings forward a controversial idea that might leave a bitter taste in the mouth of some readers:

“If you want to create and capture lasting value, look to build a monopoly”

In an article published on “The Wall Street Journal”, Peter Thiel explains what he intends for monopoly: “By “monopoly,” I mean the kind of company that is so good at what it does that no other firm can offer a close substitute.”

Peter Thiel is an entrepreneur, an investor and it is also known to be “enfant terrible” that likes to provoke controversy with some of his somewhat hedgy ideas. He was a co-founder of PayPal and other startups. To his credit and profit he was also an early investor in companies like Yelp and LinkedIn.

The history of this book is curious. When Peter Thiel taught a class in Stanford University about entrepreneurship, one of his students, Blake Masters, who became as well one co-author of this book, took valuable notes from the class. These notes became very popular and were even referred to  in the New York Times. Those notes were revised and expanded, and became the basis of “zero to one”.

I really like when Peter Thiel writes that there’s no reason why the future greatest startup should happen only at Stanford (…) or in Silicon Valley”. That´s “music” to my ears because I don´t live in any of those places and I am developing a startup with other people. Of course, I recognize that to be at Stanford or in the Silicon Valley even in present days is still an advantage but not has important and crucial as it used to be.

In a way, the message of this book is partially similar to a very popular business book some years ago: “Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space And Make The Competition Irrelevant” by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. Both books convey the message that companies should avoid competition and, if possible, create (or find) markets that grow fast,  where it is possible to have some quick and critical advantage.

Peter Thiel argues that a startup should try to escape competition since the beginning. Ideally, they should search for an area of scarcity, which will lead the company to achieve some kind of monopoly in their sector like Google in relation to search engines, because a startup trying to develop in a competitive area,  isn´t the most profitable way to do obtain profits.

The authors incites the reader to look for what we can learn from the example Bill Gates or Larry Page, but they highlight the necessity of adding something really new to the game and not settle for being a simple evolution of what exists now. He tells us not to forget that the next billionaires will not be the ones building an operating system or a search engine.

If you are developing a technological and software start-up, or actually any kind of startup, “Zero to One” stresses four key points that are essential to your success. These are:

1. Create some proprietary technology that is a creative advantage in relation to what exists now in the market. A big example is the search engine of Google.

2. Capture network effects. Everyone uses phone because everyone has a telephone. Facebook has one billion users because most users have a lot of friends who use that social network. Ideally, it should be fundamental to be part of the network for the company who has it

3. Obtain economies of scale. This is an old-school key point inherited from the industrial age of the 19th century, but it is still of great value today.  Basically,  if your sector has high fixed costs and low marginal costs it is very important to scale it quickly. This forces the competition to have very big pockets if they want to enter the sector. Imagine if you want to create an office to compete with Microsoft.

4. A brand becomes known when it is perceived as bringing value to costumers. Probably the biggest example now is Apple.

Of course, it is more easy to write about these four key points then to really find or create them. Personally, I am collaborating with one start-up (http://windit-app.com/) and we are having some trouble to develop some of the key points stressed by “Zero to One”. These seem fit to large groups and corporations that have access to large sums of funding, but not viable to small scale startups and businesses.

It is also questionable whether we still are interested in an economic model that relies on monopolies to produce products to mass markets, such as apple or google, or if we are slowly shifting to an economic world with myriads of creative alternatives, that are much smaller, as specifically tailored to the needs of the various communities and populations.

Anyway I find Thiels four key points of great values, because they make us concentrate our attention on what is really important: to create an original product that brings value to people. The future will tell whether if we are successful or not.

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quote by Seth Godin http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-seth-godin-2/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-seth-godin-2/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-seth-godin-2/ The post quote by Seth Godin appeared first on Intelligent Head Quarters.

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quote by Seth Godin http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-seth-godin/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-seth-godin/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-seth-godin/ The post quote by Seth Godin appeared first on Intelligent Head Quarters.

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quote by Herbie Hancock http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-herbie-hancock/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-herbie-hancock/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-herbie-hancock/ The post quote by Herbie Hancock appeared first on Intelligent Head Quarters.

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quote by Anais Nin http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-anais-nin/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-anais-nin/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-anais-nin/ The post quote by Anais Nin appeared first on Intelligent Head Quarters.

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Quote by Frank Lloyd Wright http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-frank-lloyd-wright/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-frank-lloyd-wright/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-frank-lloyd-wright/ The post Quote by Frank Lloyd Wright appeared first on Intelligent Head Quarters.

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quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-ralph-waldo-emerson/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-ralph-waldo-emerson/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/quote-by-ralph-waldo-emerson/ The post quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson appeared first on Intelligent Head Quarters.

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Will Semantics Save Capitalism ? http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/redefining-capitalism/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/redefining-capitalism/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 07:00:36 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43986 Redifinig

Redefining Capitalism Or Creating Shared Value

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Redifinig
Redefining Capitalism

Redefining Capitalism

Article written by Paula Newton an Maria Fonseca

Throughout history capitalism has been criticized and challenged, and now once again, many are becoming vociferous about this. Capitalism has some fundamental flaws that do not work, argue these critics of the current system. Many have suggestions for change and improvement. This is not new either; after all, Karl Marx sought to eradicate capitalism with communism. Yet the arguments seem to be increasing in intensity from all angles, and this is perhaps not so surprising given the tremendous disparity that can be seen between rich and poor. As Eric Beinhocker and Nick Hanauer (20104) writing for McKinsey explain, it is clear that something is wrong with society. They point out that the inequality that we see around us is:

“Challenging some of our most deeply held beliefs about how a fair and well-functioning society should be organized.”

Beinhocker and Hanauer start their article stating the controversial sentence that “capitalism is under attack”. They explain that while we are right to think that capitalism has built prosperity so far, we are wrong about how and why it worked. They opine that we are misguided about the workings of capitalism and we need to replace our current mind-set on this with more up to date and modern theories that will extend our understanding in order to allow us to improve the capitalist structure of society in a supposedly more beneficial way.

According to Beinhocker and Hanauer there have been some very interesting and engaging theories and models put forwards by economists that do go some way to explaining the way the system works, but in reality the system does not work quite in that way. That is because the economy is continually changing and evolving and has a lot of different actors such as companies, banks and regulators that influence this. This continual change is likened somewhat to an ecosystem rather than “the mechanistic system” that was used in the past by economists to explain the system, through theories of supply and demand and so on. Indeed, it is argued by Beinhocker and Hanauer that we are not allocating resources any better than we were in the past. Rather we have better life saving antibiotics, good and fresh water supplies and more information and innovations that have improved lives. Capitalism, it is argued, has created incentives to fix these problems and it provides these solutions. It is these solutions that are important and not the money itself.

Additionally, as Beinhocker and Hanauer explain, it is not possible to define prosperity in terms of money. Monetary measures fall short. This point is explained like this: if a person in the UK earns £20,000 per year they might be doing OK depending on where they live. Generally though they would not feel rich at all. However, if a nomad living in the Sahara had this same sum, they would be extremely wealthy. However, the Brit would have access to antibiotics and a fresh water supply but the Saharan dweller may well not. This is a critical factor in prosperity as well that Beinhocker and Hanauer believe is often overlooked.

GDP is yet another problem with the way we define capitalism currently according to Beinhocker and Hanauer. Specifically GDP is supposed to indicate development and that we have better lives. However, Beinhocker and Hanauer explain that while GDP has tripled in the USA in the last three decades, this does not explain everything. For example, GDP cannot determine whether people have lives that are better or worse. Rather, it is looking at whether human problems have been solved and whether solutions are available to address these problems which is more important. Indeed, it is explained that growth might better be looked at as understanding that going from worrying about dying from a minor infection one day to having antibiotics that allow the issue to be completely treated the next day is progress, while having more money is not.

According to the authors, it is in this looking at the solutions that capitalism creates where prosperity can really be seen, not in looking at monetary measures and who has more money. Profits and shareholder values are clearly poor indicators. Turning around our ideas of what capitalism does can have a definite impact on how we view it and the value it really adds. Solutions to problems are something many of us can celebrate.

Will Semantics Save Capitalism ?

What is strange about the article though, is that the authors seem to think that just by redefining what capitalism is, through a strategy that replaces old economic theories with new ones, capitalism still can be seen as the system “that has been the major source of historical growth and prosperity.”  In their report,  the authors state that “prosperity in a society is the accumulation of solutions to human problems.If one would then follow this definition, capitalism could actually be said to have failed to bring that prosperity, or if it has brought it, it was at an immense cost, particularly to our environment.

The question is that just changing the language and mind set, as a strategy to define capitalism in new terms, doesn’t solve the real problems faced by the world and that truly shows us that the system as it is, is still more focused in share holders profits, then in real prosperity to all of us.  The perception that top CEO’s of companies and corporations are flourishing at the expense of the broader community, is based on facts of the quotidian reality of many of us, particularly in the western world, that even though better educated than the previous generations, have seen lesser job opportunities, and poorer living standards.

Fostering shared value in businesses

A more accurate analysis that really looks at the source of why “capitalism is under attack” is needed if one wants to find attractive solutions for society in general.  In an article written by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer for the Harvard Business Review, the authors  tries to identify the reasons that led society to distrust businesses and large corporations. They point out that:

“the real issue is that companies remain trapped in an outdated approach to value creation, continuing to view value creation narrowly, optimizing short-term financial performance in a bubble while missing the most important customer needs.”

The authors introduce an interesting concept, shared value,  as a principle that proportionates economic value in a way that brings as well value for society by responding and solving its needs and challenges. In an interview Michael Porter reminds us that instead of thinking that what is good for businesses is good for society, we should now think the other way around: what is good for society is good for businesses. To illustrate his concept, he gives the example of a company that was able to bridge these two items: the incredibly successful supermarket chain of natural and organic foods, whole foods.

What the authors propose is that “Businesses must reconnect company success with social progress.”  These are precisely the values of a social business.

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Enspiral: A Creative Foundation Helping People Do Meaningful Work http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/enspiral-a-creative-foundation-helping-people-do-meaningful-work/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/enspiral-a-creative-foundation-helping-people-do-meaningful-work/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 07:00:08 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44065 Enspiral co-working space

  “If a trickle of human energy can make a difference, imagine what a river could do.” It is these wise words that you will find posted on the home page of Enspiral’s website, and …

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Enspiral co-working space

 

Enspiral co-working space

Enspiral co-working space

“If a trickle of human energy can make a difference, imagine what a river could do.”

It is these wise words that you will find posted on the home page of Enspiral’s website, and it is a very good point. Energy when channelled in the right direction can drive significant change, especially when there are enough people behind it. But what does Enspiral do about it ? In their own words, Enspiral is a bold experiment to create a collaborative network that helps people do meaningful work.  As such,  Enspiral describes itself as being:

“A virtual and physical network of companies and professionals working together to create a thriving society.”

The concept on which this is based is that when people are brought together in a co-working space,  that are like minded they can have discussions that lead to seedlings of ideas that then grow up into major activities that can change the world. Enspiral is working to achieve this through creating a network that is collaborative and which allows people to do “meaningful work”.

The Enspiral Foundation was founded in 2010 as a group of individuals that were doing contract work together, and who became thrilled by the idea of developing something bigger out of that. By 2011 the organisation was already launching companies, and started describing itself as a “social enterprise”. During this time the organisation began thinking about how a collective of organisations might successfully operate together. The organisation began collaborative funding in 2013, and started growing quite rapidly. As of 2014, the organisation has 150 contributors, and continues to launch new companies and ventures. It has also worked on collaborative strategy setting to develop a vision to be able to achieve the organisation’s challenging goals.

As Anna Bergren Miller (2014) explains, at first it can be challenging to understand what New Zealand based Enspiral really does. One of the things that Enspiral does is start ventures. The ventures that Enspiral has launched are ground breaking and there have already been very many of these.  Examples of innovation are manifold among these. For example, Bucky Box is a venture that builds cloud software for an emerging food system that is designed to tackle the food distribution problem. Loomio works to empower communities to take action together and participate in decision making. Metric Engine allows companies to compare their performance with similar organisations so that they can identify ways in which they can improve, meanwhile Enspiral Accounting offers accounting services to those that place social responsibility in pride of place. Enspiral Legal focuses on providing legal documentation and support to technology start ups. Dev Academy has become New Zealand’s first Developer Academy which allows people to be able to “radically upskill” their tech skills in a nine week boot camp. Volunteer Impact supports environmental volunteers by helping them to understand their impact through tracking and measuring what they do. All of these are excellent ideas that are already making a difference, even though the timeframe in which this has all been set up has been short.

Evolution of Enspiral

Evolution of Enspiral

Bergren Miller suggests that the organisation has a very decentralised organisational structure which is called an “open value network”. This is a deliberate avoidance of developing power hierarchies. At the outset, Enspiral was conceived of by its founder Joshua Vial as being a vision to improve the world through creating meaningful work. From this diverse individuals came together due to shared values. This led to networks of companies that were connected by the Enspiral Foundation. The organisation uses open sourcing tools and processes to achieve all of this. It uses collaborative decision making where a wide range of views are brought together to make decisions for collective action. The funding, as already explained, is also collaborative, and the organisation will fund projects that support the network through its transparent and participatory approach to budgeting.

Part of the way that Enspiral has achieved its success is by building up its network. To date, the organisation has held a social enterprise week in New Zealand, organised social enterprise meet ups using “Meetup”, has created internships and has run workshops on good enterprise. There has been a festival for the future with workshops and keynote speakers as well as encouragement of young innovators. There is even a programming club that regularly meets to help people to improve their development skills. Through all of these different activities, and a lot more besides, Enspiral is inventing a new and creative business organization, and is changing the world, one step at a time.

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The Collaborative Economy Body Of Work For Social Businesses http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/the-collaborative-economy-body-of-work-for-social-businesses/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/the-collaborative-economy-body-of-work-for-social-businesses/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 07:00:03 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44051 collaborative economy

Did you know that the Collaborative Economy is well and truly in full swing? Some call it collaborative economy, others “the sharing economy” or collaborative consumption, as definitely there is still a bit of confusion …

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collaborative economy
collaborative economy

collaborative economy

Did you know that the Collaborative Economy is well and truly in full swing? Some call it collaborative economy, others “the sharing economy” or collaborative consumption, as definitely there is still a bit of confusion which is which.  What is novel about this new economic model is that is based on shared ownership and access. This is shared between people, governments, organizations and start-ups. This is having the effect of moving power away from large corporations. One of the drivers of the Collaborative Economy is social networks that are used to help facilitate interactions between these different groups. They include  makers, and they share and pass on goods beyond physical borders. This has led to people around the world finding new ways to generate income and cut back on feeling reliant on other people.

Jeremiah Owyang (2013) writing for Web Strategist points out that he is living in the Collaborative Economy. Examples of the activities he does that demonstrate this are his staying in strangers’ homes, lending his car to a stranger and using crowd based services to get work done for a cheaper price, as and when he needs it. Indeed, as Owyang explains:

 “The impact this can have to opportunity markets all across the globe can offer new ways to generate income, share what’s valuable and reduce dependency on others.”

 

Honeycomb

Examples of collaborative economy

Whatare some examples of the Collaborative Economy pointed out by Jeremy Owyang ? Well, perhaps one of the most important are crowdfunding websites. Websites such as Indiegogo, Kickstarter, Gofundme, CircleUp and OurCrowd allow people to gain access to the money of many to be able to power their ventures and get underway. In the money lending market, organizations like Kiva promote micro lending to people in developing countries, while other lending organisations are also changing the way that the economy functions, such as Prosper, LendingClub and GreenNote. Remaining on the subject of money, bitcoin solutions or so-called “crypto currencies” including bitcoin, dogecoin, litecoin, namecoin and Peercoin facilitate easier business online.

In terms of goods, the Maker movement has led to sales in different ways through organisations like Etsy, The Grommet, shapeways and Quirky. These websites have transformed the market for bespoke goods. Meanwhile getting access to other cheap goods, or second hand goods so that there is less waste is achieved through websites such as eBay, Craigslist and Yerdle.

There is also more opportunity to loan goods in the Collaborative Economy, and this is where organisations like Rent The Runaway and Shop it to Me have come into play. It is not just money that is being shared. Food is being shared rather than wasted in the Collaborative Economy. Companies like Cookening, EatWith, Meal Sharing and Feastly have played a part here. Meanwhile, Munchery, Blue Apron and Kitchen Surfing among others have all created shared opportunities for food preparation.

Collaborative Economy and Services

The Collaborative Economy has made it much easier to find people that can provide services. For example, professional services in a range of different categories may be sourced from companies like Elance, ODesk, Crowdspring, Freelancer.com and BidWilly. Personal services can also be contracted out. Organisations such as TaskRabbit, Shyp, MyTaskAngel and Popexpert have all made this possible. Transportation services are also different in the collaborative economy. For loaning vehicles, organisations like Scoot, Car2Go and DriveNow have changed the face of the industry. Meanwhile companies like Uber, Hail and Lyft have made it easier to contract transportation services as and when needed, and have also led to fairer prices for these services.

Even space is shared in the Collaborative Economy. In particular there are many opportunities for sharing people’s homes in order to be able to travel more easily and often more cheaply. Think Couchsurfing where participants stay for free on a person’s couch or in their spare room and may only buy their host a meal. There are also more expensive options like AirBnb where a person may rent out a spare room to those that are coming into town. In terms of office space there are also options. ShareDesk, Pivotdesk and Liquidspace are just some of these.

Will the collaborative economy change the world ?

The Collaborative Economy that Owyang describes can clearly be seen to be changing the way that we do absolutely everything. It is also creating a large number of opportunities for people to be more innovative and entrepreneurial where such opportunities may not have existed in the same way in the past.  The Collaborative Economy is revolutionising just about everything. It will be interesting to see where it goes next and where further collaboration can lead.

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Qatar Foundation: Driving Education Through The Wise initiative http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/qatar-foundation-driving-education-through-the-wise-initiative/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/latest-news/qatar-foundation-driving-education-through-the-wise-initiative/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 07:00:46 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=44054 Wise Initiative Qatar Foundation

The WISE Initiative is a Qatar Foundation project  that is focused on driving innovation in education to the very top of the global agenda. The organization seeks to link up innovators with a global platform …

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Wise Initiative Qatar Foundation
Wise Initiative Qatar Foundation

Wise Initiative Qatar Foundation

The WISE Initiative is a Qatar Foundation project  that is focused on driving innovation in education to the very top of the global agenda. The organization seeks to link up innovators with a global platform with a view to spreading and developing new ideas and innovative approaches for education. It also endeavours to advance successful practices that have been adopted in different sectors and promote these around the world to help shape the future of education. There are a range of different activities that have been undertaken to achieve this. Take the “Wise Prize” for example. As the Chairperson of Qatar Foundation her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser points out:

“It is our aim that this prize should raise global awareness of the crucial role of education in all societies and create a platform for innovative and practical solutions that might help alleviate some of the challenges which education faces around the world.”

The prize was created in 2011 by the Chairperson and it seeks to recognize either an individual or a team of a maximum of six people for an outstanding world-class contribution to education. It aims to raise the status of education through offering this prestigious prize. Winners have included Sir Fazle Hasan Abed who founded BRAC. BRAC is an initiative based in Bangladesh, that started in a remote village in Bangladesh in 1972, growing to be now the largest development organisation in the world. It has improved the lives of millions of people on three continents through education activities.

Qatar Foundation runs the Wise Summit. These have been running since 2009, and the latest will run in November 2014 in Qatar. The theme of this year’s event is “Image-Create-Learn: Creativity at the Heart of Education.” The summits bring together education practitioners, decision makers and influential experts to devise steps to improve education worldwide. It draws together individuals from both the public and private sectors to this end, running for three days to drive collaboration and share practices.

As well as the summit and the prize there are also prestigious Wise Awards. Six awards are given each year. To be eligible to enter for these, the applicant must be working on an innovative project that addresses global educational challenges. People from more than 140 countries have entered, and the organisation has processed in excess of 2,400 applications for these awards. There have been 36 projects awarded to date and these have been derived from different sectors and locations. Commonalities that award winners all share are an innovative character, positive contribution and potential for scalability and adaptability. Prize winners receive $20,000 US as well as global visibility for what they are doing. In the following video, published by Wise´s youtube channel, you can see a report from thew 2014 receiver of WISE award: Camfed, an organization that is unlocking the potential of girl´s education in rural Africa.

Wise also offers an accelerator programme. This is suited to education projects recently launched that user or are designing new technologies. It is good for those that have goals but that need some expert help to proceed. It assists projects to grow by connecting them with potential funders and investors. The programme provides qualified mentors and partners to offer strategies and support to projects to develop beyond an idea stage. Seven projects are selected per year as a maximum to take part in the accelerator. These projects are followed for one year. During this time they get customised mentoring that helps to address their needs to help them to develop and grow. At the same time as this the Wise Accelerator connects the projects with an international network that allows for opportunities to share knowledge as well as to gain support from either donors or investors. The projects chosen are those that demonstrate significant potential for scalability and an overall positive impact on education worldwide.

If accelerator programmes, prizes, awards and summits were not already enough, the Foundation also produces “Wise Books”. To date three books have been written for the library. These books analyse the challenges that education faces today in being able to provide people with the skills that they need to be able to succeed in the 21st century. The authors have travelled far and wide to identify solutions that are innovative and that really combat these issues, making a big difference. There is a book that focuses on technology and connection and also a book about what pioneers in this field are doing. The third book looks at the relationship between education and the world of work.

Taking this multi-pronged approach there is no doubt that WISE is changing the face of education.

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Thinking About The Gap: Technology and Inequality http://www.intelligenthq.com/technology/technology-and-inequality/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/technology/technology-and-inequality/#comments Sun, 09 Nov 2014 07:00:29 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43997 San Jose California, where Silicon Valley is located

Article written by Paula Newton and Maria Fonseca It is hard to exist in the world today without seeing the signs of inequality everywhere. Inequality has been growing so much that all governments and the …

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San Jose California, where Silicon Valley is located
San Jose California, where Silicon Valley is located

San Jose California, where Silicon Valley is located

Article written by Paula Newton and Maria Fonseca

It is hard to exist in the world today without seeing the signs of inequality everywhere. Inequality has been growing so much that all governments and the civil society speak about it with increasing worry, trying to understand its causes, but unable to find solutions. This is an unhappy state of affairs, and the MIT Technology Review argues that the situation is particularly pronounced, a “chasm” even between rich and poor in Silicon Valley in the USA. While salaries in the technology industry for some have risen tremendously – up to $94,000 in 2013 as a median wage (compared with the US average of $53,000), a very large number of jobs in this booming area pay less than a living wage for inhabitants of this area. Rising house prices combined with low wages for many make this a very hard place to live for some.

This has led many to anger, argues the MIT Technology Review. After all, technological advancement is only serving to make the rich richer still, rather than improving lives for all – which they argue is closer to the way things used to work. In some cases, the MIT Technology Review explains,  this has even led to people throwing stones at buses that ship people from San Francisco to the Google offices, their rage is that intense. The problem as many see it is that technology is leading to the destruction of middle class jobs, leaving the gap between rich and poor to rise.  As Russell Hancock says, the president of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a nonprofit group that promotes regional development, the current situation is puzzling, because in the past, technological improvements would be beneficial to all:

“But when we used to have booms in the tech sector, it would lift all boats. That’s not how it works anymore. And suddenly you’re seeing a backlash and people are upset.”

Actually, as the MIT Technology Review clearly points out that “Economists have long warned that inflation-adjusted wages for low and middle-income workers have been flat or declining since the late 1970s.”

Cover of MIT Review edition of November 2014

Cover of MIT Review edition of November 2014

While the MIT Technology Review discusses the USA specifically, in fact this can also be seen in the UK. This has led to a situation in the United States where the upper 10% now owns 48% of all national income, and the top 1% has 20%. It is argued by MIT Technology Review that this is due to a problem of “supermanagers” where people get extremely high wages in some cases, with the implication being that there is less to go around for everyone else. This issue is particularly pronounced in the IT industry where people become “go to” experts who are critical to holding it all together, and the wages for these people inflates out of control compared to some that get pay rises that do not even cover the increased cost of living.

The challenge of this is not so different if you look back in history to pre-revolution France. At that time most of the wealth was hoarded by just a few people – an elite that also dominated in the political and social arena – while everyone else had very little. When you think about it, the comparison sticks. And this is uncomfortable for many since this is not how we like to perceive the idea of progress. Indeed, a shared view upon the paradigm of progress is that technological progress works to make everything better and a bit easier for everyone. In reality that is not necessarily happening, and instead it appears to be serving just a few very wealthy people.

Is technology provoking inequality ?

The main argument put forward by the MIT Technology Review article is that there is evidence that technology is the single biggest driver of the inequality that we now see around us. As explained in the MIT Technology Review it is argued that this happens because:

“The biggest factor is that the technology-driven economy greatly favours a small group of successful individuals by amplifying their talent and luck.”

Thus, while development is occurring and the “pie is increasing” not everyone gets something from this and in fact in many cases only a few people do. According to academic Erik Brynjolfsson this is akin to a “winner take all” effect that can be seen in society. High tech entrepreneurs such as those that founded the greats like Google, Facebook and Twitter can certainly be seen to be benefitting tremendously while others remain on the streets. Overall, it is a fact experienced by all that this situation has led to the obliteration of the middle class. Development economists would argue that this is a major challenge as the building up of a middle class is seen to be the building block of a more stable economic situation in most developing countries.
The article also mentions Piketty´s recent book Capital in the XXIst century, that resulted from the analysis of an immense quantity of data coming from 250 years, as a way to trace the evolution of inequality since the Industrial revolution. Piketty´s conclusions resulted from a decade of research done collaboratively, and were drawn thorough statistical and historical analysis. But if Piketty atributes the reasons of inequality to inherited wealth, the scholar and economist Erik Brynjolfsson thinks that what is producing inequality is actually innovation and technology.

No one seems to have the complete set of answers, but one thing is certain: it is unsustainable.

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Where Does Money Come From? http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/where-does-money-come-from/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/where-does-money-come-from/#comments Sat, 08 Nov 2014 07:00:18 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43994 monopoly

Do you ever wonder where money comes from? Well, Josh Ryan-Collins, Tony Greenham, Richard Werner and Andre Jackson have set out to explain exactly that in a new book published in 2012 entitled “Where does …

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monopoly
Where Does Money Come From? Intelligenthq

Where Does Money Come From? Intelligenthq

Do you ever wonder where money comes from? Well, Josh Ryan-Collins, Tony Greenham, Richard Werner and Andre Jackson have set out to explain exactly that in a new book published in 2012 entitled “Where does money come from ?”.  They are not the first to do it. One century ago, Hartley Withers’s engaged in understanding the meanders of money by writing “The Meaning of Money” and 80 years after Keynes’s wrote his famous “Treatise on Money”. But nowadays, the fundamentals of how banks create money still needs explaining.

The authors of “Where does money come from ?” seek to answer difficult questions that initially seem simple, that include those such as what money is, how it is created and how it gets into the system. These are challenges that people sometimes think they understand but often in reality do not. The book seeks to set straight some of the misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions that people make about the circulation of money.

As explained by Positive Money, the book outlines that: “New money is created by commercial banks when they extend or create credit, either through making loans or buying existing assets.” In doing this the banks create credit that leads to deposits in our bank accounts, which is “to all intents and purposes”, they argue, money. The book explains the fact that most people do not understand how money is created. Positive Money argues that it is worrying and many economists, policy makers and even bankers do not understand the concept outlined above. This creates a number of challenges in itself, such as the likelihood that banking reform will not succeed due to not understanding the fundamentals of how the system works.

This book¨s message is really important because it reminds us of a basic truth about money. As Josh Ryan Collins says in the following video : “money is a social relationship.”

As such, to define money is a difficult challenge. Plus, the book reminds us that “anything widely accepted as payment” is money and that this includes payments that are accepted by the government to pay tax. This is seen to include bank credit, but not a scrawled note on a piece of paper that says to a mate that you owe them money. This leads the authors to the premise that there are three forms of currency in the UK national economy. The first of these is cash – the notes and coins that are circulated through which we are able to buy things. The second is central bank reserves, or reserves that are stored by commercial banks with the Bank of England. Finally the third type of money is commercial bank money. This is comprised of bank deposits that are created when commercial banks loan money to people or institution. This in turn creates credit borrower deposit accounts and makes payments for customers.

The book  describes how only the government or the Bank of England has the ability to create the first two types of money. It is pointed out however, that physical cash only accounts for less than 3% of total money that exists in the economy. Meanwhile, commercial bank money accounts for the rest of the overall money supply. Mostly people have a too simplistic idea of how banks actually work and this is a misconception that needs to be addressed however, according to the book. The book aims to, and successfully overcomes and dispels some of these myths and incorrectly conceived ideas.

According to the book’s authors the fact that commercial banks are in reality able to create new money has consequences that need to be understood with regard to both financial stability and economic prosperity. The first is that this method of money creation is not good at protecting against credit booms which cause price bubbles. The second is that banks limit the credit that is available and this is not based on interest rates but on confidence that the loan will be repaid, and confidence in the overall banking system. Banks also have power to decide where credit is assigned in the economy which leads to a focus on lending against collateral. This means that new money created is often put into the housing market, and we have seen the impact that this has on society. In addition to these challenges, fiscal policy itself is seen by the authors to not result in money expansion, and the government has little to no direct involvement in this. This indicates that the banks run the country, which given the last economic crisis will certainly be worrying for many.

Having set aside some of the myths, the book concludes by asking perhaps the most important question of all:

“Of all the possible alternative ways in which we could create new money and allocate purchasing power, is this really the best?”

 

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