Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Future Of Money Project by Venessa Miemis

Original post here
What are young adults thinking about money and value? How can we create new systems of wealth generation and abundance? What does the future hold for banks and other financial institutions in the wake of massive peer to peer exchange?
“The Future of Money” begins a conversation on these topics and invites your participation (twitter hashtag #futureofmoney)
We did it! Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this process over the past few months!
I presented this video to a room full of bankers (200+, standing room only!) as part of my keynote on Monday, 25 October 2010, at the SIBOS Conference in Amsterdam. Though I don’t think most of them “got it,” the seed has been planted. And apparently someone found my talk compelling enough to quote me in an article on! yay! (Sibos kicks off with call for innovation).
It will be interesting to see if we whetted their appetite enough that Swift or another organization might want to provide funding for us to take the project further. Perhaps we could roll out a whole video series that dives deeper into what is really going on with peer to peer exchange, the emergence of complimentary currencies, and the social movements that are fueling this (wealth generating commons, open innovation, coworking and open design spaces, sharing, cooperatives, collaboration, data transparency, social networks, mobility, etc).
In all, I’m so pleased with this experience and the energy and activity supporting it. We crowdfunded over $5,700 over on, and donations are still rolling in! Pretty amazing, and resonant with a comment Linus Olsson of Flattr makes in the video, describing the new way people are thinking about micropayments and the funding of an individual’s creative process -
It’s not a question that you pay for what you already got. You actually pay for what you will get… the things that can be made because you paid.
Please pass the video around, and let’s keep the conversation going. In just 2 days since we posted it online, it’s received over 4,000 views! Share, embed, spread! A Future of Money page has also been started on Facebook, and the #futureofmoney hashtag is alive and well on Twitter. :)
I’d love any feedback on the video from you, or any suggestions as to where we go from here. As you know, we will also be creating an infographic as the final part of this particular project, so stay on the lookout for its release in the next few weeks!
Below is the transcript of my talk – it’s quite brief because I only had 15 minutes total, and the video took up half that time. I’ve also listed all the people who appear in the video, along with links to their initiatives/projects.
Thanks again to all!
“I’m going to talk to you about the changes that are taking place in the way my generation is redefining money and value and wealth. To help convey this message, I spent the past three weeks co-producing a video with a creative studio in Berlin, especially for this event. Just using webcams and Skype, we interviewed people from around the world – from Thailand, Sweden, Germany, the UK, the US, Mexico – all of whom are involved with initiatives that enable new forms of peer to peer value exchange. So, without further explanation, here is the world premiere of The Future of Money.
(video played)
I hope you found that both though provoking and entertaining. There was a lot of information there, so if I had to distill it down into one main concept, one takeaway, it’s this:
There is a class of young, intelligent, creative people who are disillusioned with the debt-based monetary system, and are busy building the infrastructures for a commons-based economy, which is emerging, right now, in parallel to what currently exists. The foundation of this economy is built on trust… and transparency…. and the ability of distributed networks to self organize. And using the Web as a grounds for experimentation, we’re learning more effective ways to link unmet needs with unused resources, innovate, generate wealth, and build resilient communities.
This is the prototype of the future. This is where the opportunities are.
I hope that during the Innotribe sessions the remainder of the week, we can explore ways to create bridges between these two worlds and ways of thinking, and co-evolve the next global economy.”
Future of Money Interviewees:
Featuring (in order of appearance):
Edward Harran, Attention Philanthropist
Caroline Woolard, Our Goods
Alan Rosenblith, Director, The Money Fix
Hans Schoenburg, Founder, GiftFlow
Ashni Mohnot, Founder, Enzi
Linus Olsson, Founder, Flattr
Jerry Michalski, Founder, Relationship Economy Expedition
Georg Zoche, Founder, Transnational Republic
Fernanda Ibarra, Advocate, Metacurrency Project
Jessica Harris, One Blue Dot Share Networks
Michel Bauwens, Founder, P2P Foundation
Douglas Rushkoff, Author, Program or be Programmed

Friday, October 29, 2010

Trusting the process

The registration due date was getting closer, I had to be away for more than a week and I hadn't promoted my event to ensure I would get the participants I wanted to have. In other words, I hadn't completely recovered my peace on mind around this event. Slowly but surely I've been re-investing time for myself, my house, my projects and my family...although parenthood is putting a lot of pressure! Thus I finally felt strong enough to let go and let God, I discovered a very deep enjoyment about controlling my surroundings that I thought it had already vanished. Now, with aspects of my life becoming more and more complex, all these supposedly tackled issues, are resurfacing to be dealt with again at a deeper level.

After being away, doing other things, talking to different people about different projects, all of them interesting and promising, I started to think again about how I can be part of all I want to be part of, without having the anguish of not having enough time nor money, without facing frustrations and without finishing the day exhausted, drained and in a terrible mood. Memories of previous spiritual practices that brought so much peace into my life, and the appearance of Centering Prayer, seem to have started to put my life back on God's track. 

I decided to allow people to donate what I consider is needed to cover the costs of delivering the event. I feel in peace with the idea of trusting that everything that needs to happen, will happen. Instead of learning how to control things and putting myself in such a state of stress, I decided to learn from the way life works. I was also a bit sad with the idea of excluding potential attendants due to a established cost of participation. Being this event about finding different ways to our economic issues, preventing people from participating because they don't have money, didn't seem quite right. I do have many ideas that I believe, official money would help to put in place a lot quicker, but I also realized that it is not in my hands to convince people and/or force them to believe that what I want to do, is the right thing to do. I know I'll finish my days with plenty of memories to be happy and grateful about. I feel called to just offer the space for people to start important conversations about passions I have, so those who share those passions with me, will show up and will get from those experiences, what they are called to learn or do. 

Whether people want to donate nothing, less, the exact amount or more, is entirely up to their own process of valuing their experience. And what I'll do with that money is entirely coherent with my interpretation of the principles that guide my life: compassion and love for the planet, and global citizenship.

I hope to meet many people on our weekend.

Tatiana Maya

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My partner 'Money'

I decided to pursue this passion about economics, money, the dysfunctional relationship we, both as individuals and as a society, have with them and how we can heal such relationship. What a journey!! It all started without my conscious consent to it.

I came to Australia to do a master of environmental management. I had a couple of student type of jobs to 'survive', always concerned about the economy, I didn't exactly know why but something didn't seem to be right, specifically in terms of economic development and environmental degradation, sustainability seemed impossible in these terms. However, money and economics always seemed to be the main platform sustaining our delusions. Then I met Paula and Alvaro, who God put in my way to start a conscious process of awakening. After many many maaaaany personal issues around frustrating mainstream green jobs, I ended up attending an Awakening the Dreamer Symposium, became a CAIBU, also member of Brislets and Transition Annerley, all with the purpose to get out of the old dream and built a new one for the global population.

In all this research about money I decided to tap into my own narrow idea that if your work is good you must be a volunteer or if you get some money, it must be very little. Then I came up with Changing the Economic Dream event and said "ok, the basic problem with money is that it is hoarded because it's been kept scarce so you create some sort of feeling of never having enough, or always needing more because otherwise you won't be able to live. Also, the way we create money makes it more available to those who already have it, and more scarce to those who already lack it...right, I'll charge enough to cover the costs, enough to provide an excellent event and enough to reinvest and redistribute profits amongst those who also want to change the economic structure but like me, lack the tool". 

From the moment I made the price known to the public, I started a frantic race to make sure everything was covered. I abandoned my self to the event, all sorts of anxious feelings came up, the head would not stop asking me questions, all day sitting in front of the computer, trying to be everywhere at once, the house started to reflect my inner state of unease, my personal relationships also reflected that, plus I haven't been able to make clear to people what is it that I want from this and future events. Then I got a series of emails that took me deeper into my fear to failure and further away from my inner peace. Things that usually didn't affect me, started to do so, I became more vulnerable to the 'out there' world and felt into the old game of allowing the illusion of the world to impact my state of being. I felt into the game of "you" and "me", and "those who hurt me"...I discovered that my relationship to money is not at all healed and that I have a fear to failure, but I also remember that there is no way to fail because in any case I will learn. Once I pass away some time in the future, what will happen to failure?? Failure doesn't exist...I'm not here for others to think that I am perfect. If I depend on what others think and say of me, then I am prey of the world, then I am not in the world but of the world. I even discovered that I was giving strict monetary value to all my work!! As if money reflects the true value of what we do...that is how entrenched the illusion is.

Big breath....a week away with family and the opportunity to sit in front of the sea, recharge my batteries and return to daily spiritual practices, learn from my plants, thank all this and start returning to the flow of Life and the Love of God.  There is nothing wrong with money. I believe that the problem is our relationship with it. That is, our relationship with ourselves that is reflected in how we see money, how we create it, why we create it, what we use it for and what we want to do with it. Our relationship with money says quite a lot of how we see ourselves and how we value our actions. Money is a catalyst of social processes but it is us who make of it a limitation to the full expression of what we are capable of.

Thus I managed to let go some of my own issues and decided to change venue and change some of the logistics. By doing this I am able to reduce registration costs, incorporate more  community building features to the event, give people more options to attend, encourage trading in BrisLets, take pressure out of my shoulders, and finally I thought that instead of me reporting on how I am reinvesting money from the events, it would be best if people voluntarily donate to a list of projects I am involved in. That way they could use the donation process to discover their own relationship with money. There is still information to gather but, things are flowing much easier than a 2 weeks ago and I feel I at peace with the decisions.

Mixing Symposium and economics

The Symposium gives a general framework of the state of the world and some of the causes, but it doesn't specifically tap on the economic issue even when the topic is tacitly present throughout the material. My purpose is to work on that bit that I feel is missing. I would like to provide the space for like-mind people to start conversations in whatever way feels right for them to enter in action specifically in the area of economics...I say 'specifically' but notice that there is a HUGE space for infinite possibilities to work on. That is why I chose Open Space Technology so that you make the calls and follow your own ideals instead of me telling you what I think is right. I'll provide a framework to the topics but you will make the decisions, and if you even want to say that the framework is not appropriate, that is great, that is how we'll progress in this journey, that's what your feedbacks are for and I thank you in advance for that. 

A project for the future is to specifically create an Economic Symposium with the help of, or in partnership with, the Pachamama Alliance, to make sure I keep the intention and purpose of it. 

Summarizing a couple of projects I have in mind, this is what you would be able to donate to:

Community Currency Magazine, where I am in charge of following up what's happening in Australia and New Zeland to report, link and write articles about it. Next issue will be out in about 3 weeks or so.

Community Exchange System (CES), which is the accounting platform that most of Australian LETS, including Brislets, use to register their tradings, is working on the Open Source version of it, which involves huge amounts of money. It would benefit 8000 of users in Australia and many other thousands of people around the world. It is a big step towards efficiency of the system. 

Community Forge, which is working on how to allow trading between the CES and other systems to make trading even more world wide. 

The Future Of Money Project, by Venessa Miemis consists in a video interviewing money innovators...I am in love of the vision of these people.

The New Economics for Humanity, which is to provide as much space as possible in many places and start creating the community of people who want to work on this...there is an awful lot of work to every cent you donate will help. I'll create a Donations page where you'll be able to choose where you want your money to go.

Thanks to you all and thanks to all the people behind this work...yes, all of you.

Tatiana Maya

Monday, October 4, 2010

Collaborative Consumption

A few weeks ago, I got a copy of Rachel Botsman’s new book, What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption.
The general theme of the book is that we’re shifting away from a society of hyper-consumption and equating personal self-worth with amount of material good accumulated, and instead to a world where our ability to access and exchange resources, develop a reputation, and build community and social capital takes precedence in how we choose to express who we are and what we choose to define us.
The authors give hundreds of examples of how people are finding new ways to share and exchange value - what they call “collaborative consumption” - using social lending platforms (ZopaLendingClubProsper), open barter networks (ITEX,Bartercard), peer-to-peer coworking and currencies (Hub Culture), reuse networks (Freecycle), car sharing (ZipCarGoGet), bike sharing (BIXI), swap trading (SwapTree), and peer to peer rentals for plots of land (Landshare, a room for the night (Airbnb), or any other item you could imagine (Zilok).
The list goes on, and the book is packed with some pretty interesting statistics (for instance, did you know that bike sharing is the fastest-growing form of transportation in the world, or that peer-to-peer social lending is set to grow to $5 billion by 2013?). All the examples are broken down in three main categories of collaborative consumption: product service systems, redistribution markets, and collaborative lifestyles - which highlights that there are numerous ways that consumption is being redefined.

I loved that in the closing chapters, they pull out “design thinking” as being at the center of collaborative consumption. (we’ve had thorough discussions on that topic here before) The idea is that it’s not just about creating more things anymore, but aboutthinking from a systems perspective and understanding how to find the balance in the relationship between business, sustainability, and consumption. Our planet can’t handle an endless supply of product creation, so the shift is underway for us to begin to design for participation, collaboration, and enabling new experiences. When this intention is present in design, it can lead to empowerment, changes in the thoughts and behaviors of large groups of people, and advances in conscious decision-making.

All in all, if you’re unaware of what’s happening in the peer-to-peer exchange space, this book will quickly bring you up to speed.

In closing, here are a few of my main takeaways:
- The Internet enables a new infrastructure for participation, reducing the transaction costs of matching the wants and needs of people and giving them the opportunity to coordinate. We’re finding this enables us to allocate resources and solve distribution problems more rapidly and effectively.
- By taking out the middlemen, people can begin to build trust with one other again. In the online space, this becomes transparent as reputation systems become more robust, revealing our interests, our social connections, and the trail of behaviors and actions across the Web.
- The “Tragedy of the Commons” is not a given. People are capable of sharing resources if given the tools to self-organize, coordinate, and monitor each other.
- New marketplaces are being built for people to build community, shape their personal identities, earn recognition, and participate in meaningful activity. They are finding new outlets for autonomy, control, freedom, and self-expression. While these activities strengthen social capital, they are also done for very practical reasons - to save time and/or money, to be more sustainable, or to gain access to better services.
- Aided by new communication infrastructures, we are learning to find the balance between the pursuit of one’s own self-interest and the greater good.
For more information or to order a copy of the book, check out the online hub for Collaborative Consumption. You can follow Rachel on Twitter @RachelBotsman.