After the design meeting yesterday, we kept talking for a while to think about the allocation of money, also as a continuation of our Saturday meeting concerning thriving networks (Entfaltungsnetze).
The current situation is that we can invoice work we did for the GCS. This originated in the demands of the Swiss consumer organization Stiftung für Konsumentenschutz, which formally needs invoices to disburse. This, however, is still very much conformant to a logic of exchange.
So we brainstormed what might be an alternative solution, oriented to needs and decoupling appropriation and provision. How can we treat money as a means to an end while acknowledging its pervasive effect on social relations? Talking to each other and creating understanding seems to be a best practice among likeminded communities when it comes to money (e.g. see money piles). Although ideally, we don’t need to justify ourselves all the time, but trust each other’s judgement. A further challenge is that we expect us to differ in our involvement in the GCS.
So we came up with a idea similar to the following: We agree on a monetary foundation that serves as a backup for our needs. Given a monthly inflow of money, we perform an inverse bidding round (Bieterrunde) known from German community-supported agricultures (Solidarische Landwirtschaften): On the first Wednesday of a month, we learn how much money came in the previous month and how much more than the foundation we have (surplus). We will anonymously provide some key indices of our own monetary situation and will receive feedback on how we compare with the arithmetic mean and median of the current round’s members. Then we get to enter how much money we need according to our needs to keep up with our involvement. If there’s no more demand than surplus, the money get’s distributed. Otherwise, the difference will be displayed and another round starts where we can adjust what we want. After a third failure there’s obviously more demand than the current surplus and we start to talk about our financial needs. We may lower the monetary foundation in the end to make some money available for yet another round.
Of course, there still exists a form of exchange: Only people that contribute in principal to the GCS take part in the process. But at any point we are free to decide on donations to “third parties”.
What remains in question for me are two things:
- What key indices should be queried?
- Should our whole budget be part of this?
And of course, I am eager to hear your feedback in general.