Economic growth: inclusive, green, no-cost.

5-minute read

Markets matter. They allocate resources, determine earnings, and centralize power. To fully understand possibilities for growth, reversing inequality, or climate action we have to dissect today’s marketplaces.

 

Here’s this website in 5 minutes:

1) PROBLEM: Modern Markets for Some

Powerful new technologies for buying and selling are applied differently at the top and bottom of the economy:

  • A Wall Street trader wants to sell $10m of stocks. She now uses coordinated markets unprecedented in their breadth, depth, reliability, speed, proactivity, and low-overheads. Precision data informs decisions. Losses are auto-hedged.
  • A low-skilled single mother needs a few hours’ work. Her buyers have moved to disparate, controlling, unstable, new platforms and scheduling systems. They drive down labor costs, often retaining 30% of earnings.

Over 50% of workers are now managed online by algorithms. It crushes each person’s multifaceted potential. People sell different assets and need different markets, but their platforms could be just as empowering as Wall Street’s.

Unequal access to deep, fair, modernized, markets is a 2020’s faultline in the economic foundations. It holds regular people down, creates unaccountable gatekeepers, inhibits resilience, stunts growth, and squanders resources.    → Details

 

2) GAMECHANGER: A Public Utility Option

Left to itself, the private sector can’t solve market inequality. It’s easily overlooked, but occasionally, genuinely transformative new technologies merit a government initiated Public Utility Option. That unlocks the potential for economic growth and fairness.

Electricity, rail, canals, roads, money, water supply, postage, broadcasting, and telephones are examples. Today’s markets technologies meet the criteria that justified political intervention in the formative stages of each.

Any legislature has unique ability to aggregate demand in key micro-economic sectors. (As one example: public agencies are huge buyers of all sorts of labor.) That heft could be leveraged to kickstart a system of fair, fully-featured, markets across countless sectors.

The no-cost way to do this involves a concession. Government would commit facilities it can uniquely bestow on a new system of e-markets. Facilities might include: (a) channelling public spending through those markets (b) allowing direct interface into official databases and processes, including the courts (c) official promotion (d) perhaps, tax incentives for use.

In return, a consortium operating the new markets for profit would have to legally commit to 5 fundamentals of public service:

  1. The operating consortium fund everything: Not just the technology, they also finance the official interfacing and – if needed – internet access for citizens.
  2. Small transactions mandated: This is a system to boost any transaction in the micro-economy; it focuses on barbers not biochemists, rental of bikes not bulldozers.
  3. Fixed transaction charge: A fixed mark-up on each purchase is the only revenue for operators. Competitive bidding should lead to a flat charge under 2%.
  4. Neutrality/privacy/open-data/accountability: Anyone can register, then sell or buy anything on equal terms if legal. Anyone can drill into supply/demand/pricing data for any sector. Prices are set by sellers. Users own their data and can wipe or export it.
  5. Decentralized operations: The consortium are independent of government. They must have a local franchisee running each sector. Anyone can launch an interfacing app.

Government concessions deliver official lotteries, major civil engineering projects, and other ambitious public utilities. We call the platform initiated by the above concession “POEMs”: Public Official E-Markets.  → Details

 

3) SOLUTION: Modern Markets for All

It’s hard to briefly convey how enabling “POEMs” could be. Public expectations of new market technologies are so warped by today’s siloed, buyer-centric, overhead-laden, data-hoarding, poorly-featured, platforms for public use.

POEMs would seamlessly trade; accommodation, beauty treatments, cash loans, deliveries, electricians, food servers, garment rental, home storage, industrial equipment operators, journeys, kale harvesters, luggage transfers, medical device rentals, nannies, office rentals, parking slots, road maintenance crews, security guards, textbook rentals, ushers, window repairs, x-ray slots, yoga lessons, zoo tours, and countless other sectors.

POEMs’ operators would be incentivized to constantly increase activity and earnings across the economic base; their only return is a tiny, fixed, percentage of each worker or seller’s earnings. Official pump-priming should drive their markets to enormous scale. They could then exploit only-now-possible tools that give each user control while constructing pathways, and attracting investment – or official interventions – to develop each person’s economic potential.

Like other public utilities, no-one would have to use POEMs. But if you chose to, it would be working constantly to unlock your Total Economic Potential across skills, job openings, and tradable assets that remain unrealized in today’s mishmash of uninformed, one-sided, “markets”. →  Details

 

4) RECOVERY: 25 impacts

If well executed and widely adopted, these markets could quickly expand economies. New resources would be unleashed from those at the economic base. Earnings and productivity should increase while public assistance costs decline. Innovative safety-net programs could become uniquely cost-effective to target, administer, and audit.

Specifically, that would create impacts in:

  1. Crisis response: People, resources, and stimulus can be mobilized across deep markets in seconds.
  2. Lifting the left-behinds: Unemployed? A program such as “Guaranteed Work” might get you on a first rung of the economic ladder. Prove reliability in that work, POEMs’ data and progression tools can quickly kick-in to find your steppingstones up.
  3. Green growth: These markets would atomize services, away from centrally controlled silos to broader, more efficient, hyper-localized activity. Rental could replace purchases.
  4. Precision government: Government can be big or small. But POEMs could very efficiently devolve control and accountability of public services, welfare, and tax administration.
  5. Regional competitiveness: A country or region with POEMs would have serial advantages when it came to attracting investment, tourism, or new residents.  → Details

 

5) ABOUT: Three decades of preparation

“Modern Markets for All” started in 1994 at the UK think-tank Demos. The concept has generated books, policy papers, a highly rated TED talk, and countless articles.

But it has always been fringe. An assumption global financial institutions and technology companies should be left to drive a vision for market technologies goes unchallenged. Yet, history shows better markets are inevitable. Once one country realizes how new technologies can upgrade their economy, the others always follow. Post-Covid could be the moment. Distaste for today’s tech-mediated, unbalanced, hyper-economies runs deep.

We are a British, non-partisan, non-profit built by the people who originated this thinking. Our recent work has focused on a taster for the overall vision: markets for Good Gig Work overseen by public employment agencies. The technologies for that were funded in British government programs. Enabled by US philanthropies, the resulting platform was also launched by public bodies in Los Angeles County at the start of the Covid pandemic. Their preparations for launch won US Conference of Mayors’ prize for best economic development initiative in America. The program is expanding in 2022.

What now for the wider policy? Our hope is to find a first government that will just fully ask “Do we have an inequality of markets problem? If so what could be done?” If you can help; with finance, contacts, analysis, or just sustained tenacity in starting a regional dialogue, it could be pivotal.  → Details

 

 

Flip through this site to see how vital market equality has become. And how it could quickly promote rapid, sustainable. inclusive, growth. Achieving it would cost nothing and widen everyone’s choices.

 

THE PROBLEM: Modern Markets for Some

 

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