2local alternative to neoliberalism
We are currently entangled in a neoliberal world in which large banks and multinationals dominate. We rule and run from crisis to crisis: climate change, depletion of natural resources, loss of biodiversity, inequality, hunger, malnutrition and poverty. Covid-19 pandemic and the rapid global spread of the virus make this international entanglement even more clear and a transformation to a new system the more urgent. We should look to a future where sustainability and prosperity are common. We use a general model with roots in old Chinese philosophy that corresponds with Yi-Jing and Spiral Dynamics, to analyze the situation and propose improvements. The model, published in Comparative Philosophy second issue of 2019, is a fractal system of self-similarity of states and stages with an immanent and transcendent flow of energy that shows a process of involution, turn and evolution. The model consists of an octant system with horizontal, vertical and diagonal axes: ego versus alter intentionality, internal versus external oriented energy, competition versus cooperation and renewal versus preservation. The model offers the possibility to look at the development of events in the world from different viewpoints, see figure.
Following the spiralling sequence of the octant model we present a general characterization of different situations and problems that we envisage in our neo-liberal society. The idea of classical liberalism was that the free market would arrange individual freedom for all (1). The free market caused the rise of industrialism, from which primarily benefited nobility and family businesses, operating in closed circles (2). With the increase in international trade, multinationals and international banking accumulated more and more power (3). This development led to the crisis of the 1930s. After that crisis, neo-liberal initiatives proposed the free market to continue, but controlled by the government. The reforms also led to the emergence of the public sector, where market forces have been introduced. The benefits are unclear and led to major government controls, bureaucracy and falling wages of workers (4). During this period, a lot of attention was given to the development of science and technology, however mainly driven in the direction of the prevailing market forces and large companies (5). Our world is now characterized by inequality, globalization with powerful multinationals and international banks, one-sided knowledge development and hardly any attention for cooperation (6), symbiosis, synergy and diversity (7), let alone sustainability and prosperity for everyone (8).
To get a grip on monitoring and controlling the transformation process we see the events in our society as the result of the interplay between polarities, like Yin-Yang. Based on the four contrasts in the octant model, we discuss the new approaches and possible solutions that 2local advocates to solve the problems and prevent new crises in the future. 2local is a loyalty platform that supports local-to-local approaches. It is tapping into banking with native L2L crypto currencies, which are designed to rise in value as part of a cashback system. The goal is to achieve a sustainable world with prosperity for all.
Effective transition towards sustainability and prosperity for everyone
The first contrast (1. white versus 8. black) balances ultimate polarities by confronting internal competition with external cooperation. The competitive self-interest that we observe in the (neo) liberal society is contrasted with a new creative idea of a favorable view of the future society. Individual freedom for all was the old ideal of classical liberalism, which would be realized by the free market. However, the free market, which still sets the global stage, did not regulate it. Instead, it allowed privileged individuals and companies to build wealth and realize profits, putting self-interest at the foreground. Capital is mobile, hardly hindered by government rules, and seeks ways to maximize returns. On the one hand this fueled greed to the powerful and on the other hand indifference to the powerless. People choose ‘me first’ to ‘survive’, which allowed populism to arise.
2local started a reassessment of our ‘values’ concept envisioning the kind of world we want to live in. 2Local aims to make global sustainability and prosperity as core values accessible by eradicating global poverty and hunger and solving environmental and climate problems. More and more people accept the belief that things can be done differently and better and feel an urgent need to turn things around now, so that self-interest cannot dominate the world anymore.
Introducing a cashback system
The second contrast (2. purple versus 7. yellow) confronts internal preservation with external renewal, an activity of cultural relativism. The free market system allowed multinationals and large banks to develop. In the neo-liberal economy few industrialists, rich people and shareholders of big companies determined the course of events. Although formally the interests of all stakeholders, like employees, consumers and other involved parties must also be included in the decisions of large companies, this is hardly the case in practice. These ‘closed groups’ had a lot of influence on economic policy and want to preserve this situation. In many exclusive forums and think tanks neoliberals met and made contacts to gain political influence. Billionaires and politicians take care of one another; they play the game together and perpetuate inequality in the world. The reward for capital was, and still is, higher than the reward for labour, which creates inequality. Still a lot of people suffer from poverty and hunger. The globalized production systems are successful in output and profitability, but causing ecological and social issues to lose. This also means that people retreat to their ‘safe’ environments and stand up for the interests of their ‘own’ groups. As a result both the rich and the poor shield themselves from other groups.
Cultural relativism seeks respectful and truthful behaviour that can take advantage of differences. It creates renewability. 2local works towards a society that acknowledges the cultural differences between people. This ensures more diverse involvement, inviting a range of people to engage with each other and their local societies. This vision of 2local will lead to diversity and symbiosis by introducing a cashback system that will function as a mild form of basic income. If we want to replace the current preservative system, we must ensure equality between women and men, assure them of a certain basic income, prevent heavy labour and involve young people. Consumers who have purchased local and sustainable goods or services from connected companies receive periodically a cashback up to a certain maximum. This makes the local and sustainable products not only more affordable for everyone but stimulates also a development towards a more sustainable world. Thresholds to participate are low.
Supporting local-to-local and sustainable communities
The third contrast (3. red versus 6. green) relates to ego competition versus alter cooperation, which is called reciprocal solidarism. On a global scale multinationals and large banks operate on the basis of oligopolistic competition. They do this in long international chains based on lean production methods, global sourcing, minimum stocks, no buffers, and only the short-term counts. The price developments of purchases and sales is particularly important; other aspects, such as sustainability, avoiding pollution, fairness in trade, hardly play a role. Moreover, these long international chains are very vulnerable, as now becomes evident from the Covd-19 crisis. Multinationals have a too strong power position in the economy. They swallow up promising small companies or block them from entering the market. This kills fair competition. They strategically locate where they can benefit most from the supply of materials, infrastructure, labour costs, availability of resources, legal aspects and where environmental standards are lowest. Multinationals split operating income and costs between countries, to ensure they pay little or no taxes, often facilitated by governments. Large companies are exploiting their dominant position and even putting governments under pressure. Governments do a great deal to keep these companies within their national borders.
Instead of continuing the possibility of exploiting competitive power, we need to develop interest in the other and focus on cooperation. This necessitates far-reaching cooperation and solidarity, also internationally. To change things on a global level, we must start at a local level, as various scientific and policy reports recommend. Converting the power of multinationals and banks into close local-to-local and sustainable cooperation requires a turnaround. The mission of 2local is to solve the abovementioned crises by a bottom-up approach that focuses on the local level. 2local places the local concept in a global perspective. Local-to-local communities are competent to reconnect producers and consumers via trust building in short chains. They have the ability to close ecological cycles locally and build sovereign regions by own governance.
Introducing a new crypto currency system based on blockchain technology
The fourth contrast (4. blue versus 5. orange) confronts alter preservation with external renewal, which is named creative moderation. After the crisis in the 1930s, growing government intervention emerged because monopolies and cartels showed up, and the public sector received more attention. International rules were also drawn up, such as by OECD (internationally responsible entrepreneurship), ILO (decent work) and European Commission (Green Deal). However, these rules were not made mandatory or were not enforced. Market forces have been introduced in the public sector. The benefits are unclear and it has led to major government controls and bureaucracy. The financial sector is increasingly dominating the economy. Banks are private companies that create money out of nothing and charge interests. This system only can survive in an economy of growth and ensures a continuous depreciation of the money. It appears that the working methods and mechanisms of banks and multinationals even lead to scandals and green washing. During the 2008 financial crisis banks were supported by governments. The crisis has been "resolved" by increasing global debt and low interest rates, which are causing problems for pension funds in particular, and massive austerity operations with lower wages in the public sector in subsequent years. Also in the Covid-19 crisis central banks are buying public and private debt to cut interest rates and bring greater liquidity to the financial system. The poor and emerging markets are hit hardest. Many countries have already registered with IMF for emergency support. We conclude that rules and norms are not effective, not in business and not in the public sector. The government has strongly stimulated knowledge development, but largely driven by large companies.
Balancing creative moderation is a dynamic adaptive phenomenon. In general, this means avoiding unnecessary or ineffective rules as much as possible and stimulating creativity and knowledge development in a careful manner. The Covid-19 crisis shows that less rules in the hospitals during the lockdown lead to a huge explosion of creativity by the hospital staff. The strategy of 2local is to develop and introduce new fair decentralized forms of money through cryptocurrencies that function as community coins. Crypto currencies can be issued outside the government or other agencies to benefit the people who need them. No intermediaries are needed. By introducing crypto currencies banks can no longer exercise their monopoly position and they are no longer indispensable in society. Renewal in the business sector is to be focused on downscaling, where the local becomes the mainstream. 2local supports local communities with a new payment system, making innovative use of blockchain technology. A distributed network with no central power maintains Blockchain and guarantees openness and transparency. With relatively simple means, 2local can use this technology to make a rigorous transition to sustainability and prosperity for everyone. A new crypto currency system, the L2L coin, ensures that consumers engage connected companies and do business at the local level. Unlike fiat money or other stable coins, which are subject to inflation, the L2L crypto currency, based on its own blockchain, will show a steady rise in value.
The 2local platform is well underway. Currently, the website, Whitepaper and Blogs are available (https://2local.io/). Information is disposable in 24 languages/countries/communities. For mobiles an account with wallet for members, KYC Check, MVP 2.0 Android and iOS apps are operational. There are about 30.000 verified account holders. Crypto and fiat money is accepted. 2local is active on social media with about 130.000 followers and 65 social community managers.
The 2local platform is ready to take the next step: developing a marketplace app, a new build blockchain 3.0 with cashback system and multi-currency wallet, and coin design for a rising exchange rate. 2local invites local communities to actively participate in the follow-up process and take part in testing the system.
Be part of this revolution and safe people and planet by achieving a sustainable and prosperous world!
3 May 2020