Anders betalen begint met anders denken 17 januari 2012

Gisteren was ik aanwezig op een seminar met de titel ‘Anders betalen begint met anders denken’. Locatie Utrecht, Hoog Catharijne. Organisatoren LvdO (Leren voor duurzame Ontwikkeling, onderdeel van Agentschap NL voorheen Senter Novem) en Qoin. Via een aantal projecten die we doen rondom duurzame (gebieds-) ontwikkeling en via onze website slimme financiering zijn we bij dit onderwerp betrokken geraakt. Ik was vooral benieuwd of er belangstelling voor dit onderwerp was, wat voor mensen er op af komen en wat er inhoudelijk wordt besproken.

Setting

Het geheel speelt zich af in een lounge-achtig vergadercentrum, her en der koffie-machines, een hoop mensen verscholen achter hun laptops met wifi verbindingen, her en der een overlegje in een klein groepje en ook hier met die laptop erbij, grofhouten bankjes, grote lange tafels, je kent het wel. Mooie grote zaal (overal een flesje water op de vele rijen stoelen) en na een half uur binnendruppelen door vertraagde treinen uiteindelijk tjokvol, ik schat zo’n 100 mensen, dus belangstelling enorm (inschrijving is vervroegd gestopt wegens overtekening). Deelnemers van diverse pluimage, ik zie grote bedrijven, gemeentes, belangenclubs, zelfstandig adviseurs.Veel informele kleding met her en der een verdwaald pak.

Programma

Als algemene inleiding 2 plenaire presentaties, daarna uiteen in 3 subgroepen naar andere zaaltjes (met 30 personen per groep dus geen kleine zaaltjes). Op het eind plenair bespreken van de uitkomsten van de 3 sessies. Onderwerpen van de 3 sessies:

  • C3 handelsnetwerk voor het MKB (door samenwerking en het gebruik van regio-Euro’s liquiditeitsproblemen oplossen).
  • Caire, tijdsgeld in de zorg door inzet vrijwilligers.
  • Lokaal geproduceerde energie als drager voor community currencies.

Plenaire lezing: transities en Community Currencies

Een verhaal van Harry te Riele van Storrmcs. Op zoek naar patronen voor transities. Aanleiding is dat er zich een aantal catastrofes na elkaar voordoen. Daarna roept men: dit nooit meer en steekt de koppen bij elkaar. Er komt focus op het realiseren van deze ambitie. Vervolgens slaagt men in de doelstelling. Zozeer zelfs dat er een versterkende loop ontstaat, er ontstaat een J-curve, een exponentiële ontwikkeling Ondertussen ontstaan er ook (steeds meer) negatieve bij-effecten. Totdat die bij-effecten zodanig worden dat er een tegenbeweging ontstaat. Er ontstaat een onderstroom van protest en verzet. Bij voldoende kritische massa van de onderstroom volgen corrigerende maatregelen, nieuwe wet- en regelgeving, behoefte aan een nieuw verhaal etc.

Voorbeeld 1, landbouw. Hongersnoden zijn hier de drijvende krachten. Halverwege de vorige eeuw wordt geroepen ‘dit nooit meer, nooit meer honger’ en zet men in op de doelstelling maximaliseer de opbrengsten van de grond. Er komen allerlei Europese programma’s. De opbrengsten per hectare laten na de jaren 50 een exponentieel verloop zien. Vanaf de jaren 70 en 80 worden de negatieve bij-effecten duidelijk. Vervuiling van de grond, ontbossing etc. Er ontstaat een tegenbeweging en sinds een jaar of 20 is de agrarische sector aan het herbezinnen op de oorspronkelijke doelstelling en/of is er behoefte aan een nieuw verhaal.

Voorbeeld 2, de financiële sector. Twee wereldoorlogen en tientallen miljoenen doden. Na WO II zegt men: dit nooit meer, nooit meer oorlogen. De ambitie wordt om economische groei te krijgen, welvaart door samenwerking en door openstellen van de grenzen, geen belemmeringen en realisatie van vrijhandel. De dollar vervult een sleutelpositie in dit nieuwe groeisysteem. Er ontstaat weer een J-curve, we zien welvaart en groei die we nooit eerder hebben gezien.  Met de val van de muur in 1989 vallen een aantal politieke tegenkrachten weg. De ideologie van de vrije markt tekent zich af. Met de komst van ICT als ondersteunende kracht gaan alle remmen los. Tot de nadelen beginnen op te spelen. Uitputting van grondstoffen, vervuiling, scheve inkomensverdeling, financiële instabiliteit. Er ontstaat een tegenbeweging, zie o.a. No Logo van Naomi Klein. Tot de crash van 2008 en de crisis waar we nu al een aantal jaren inzitten. Nieuwe tegenbewegingen, behoefte aan een nieuw verhaal. Andere betaalsystemen is ook zo’n onderstroom.

Mooi verhaal. Herkenbaar patroon. Ik had er een paar vragen bij en omdat de groep te groot was en de tijd te kort dus maar hier.

  • Is er in de landbouw sprake geweest van een transitie? Van een nieuw verhaal? Hoe luidt dat verhaal?
  • Wat kan de tweede transitie (financieel groeimodel) leren van de eerdere transitie (landbouw)?
  • Zijn interventies mogelijk en zinvol?
  • Of moeten we zeggen: zo gaan die dingen, so what, elke keer komt er een tegenbeweging en aanpassing van de oorspronkelijke ambities, het lost zichzelf wel op?

De tweede lezing wordt verzorgd door Qoin (in de persoon van Rob van Hilten) en gaat over de achtergrond en geschiedenis van community currencies. Ik onthoud een paar dingen van deze lezing:

  • Alternatieve geldsystemen hebben in de geschiedenis meermalen en op vele plekken hun nut bewezen. Het kan dus en het werkt.
  • Centraal in de gedachte staat dat het om een 2e geldsysteem gaat bovenop of naast een bestaand officieel geldsysteem. Het vervangt dus uitdrukkelijk niet het bestaande geldsysteem.
  • Voor een gemeenschap is veerkracht belangrijk. En veerkracht staat tegenover toenemende specialisatie en onderlinge afhankelijkheid. Ik zie een economische curve voor me waarbij veerkracht op de ene as staat en rijkdom/specialisatie op de andere. Je kunt erg rijk worden door extreem te specialiseren, maar hierdoor krijg je schaalvergroting , monoculturen en een bijzonder hoog risicoprofiel. Als het fout gaat, dan gaat het ook goed fout. Het andere uiterste op de curve is een eenling die alles zelf doet en van niemand afhankelijk is, maar daardoor ook beperkt welvarend zal worden met een laag risicoprofiel. Een tweede geldsysteem zoekt op de curve een tussenpositie of optimum op: voldoende specialisatie binnen een lokale gemeenschap, maar met verbinding met de grotere wereld. Iets lagere welvaart in groeitermen maar ook een lager risicoprofiel en minder kwetsbaarheid.
  • Voor succes is het noodzakelijk dat een grote partij toe treedt. Alleen met kleine partijen blijkt het alternatieve betaalsysteem na een aantal jaren steeds weer af te sterven.

Ook hier zijn weer vele vragen te stellen (en ik ben ervan overtuigd dat het vele materiaal dat op internet te vinden is hier ook antwoorden kan geven):

  • Moet er per se een ander systeem naast bestaan? Hoe gaat het als er uitsluitend zo’n ander systeem bestaat?
  • Wat precies zijn de condities of randvoorwaarden waarbinnen dit concept zijn goede werk doet? In de voorbeelden leek het erop dat er sprake moet zijn van een onderbestedingsevenwicht en van lokale potentie (werkloosheid die door uitgifte van eigen bonnen deels kon worden opgelost met medewerking van lokale middenstand).
  • Is het een tijdelijke oplossing of kan het ook structureel een rol vervullen en welke dan?
  • Als de systemen dan wereldwijd hun praktische nut hebben bewezen waarom is het dan zo moeilijk er hier een van de grond te krijgen?
  • Wat zijn met de komst van de moderne ict- en internet-techniek nieuwe mogelijkheden die daarvoor niet mogelijk waren? Hoe wordt/kan het anders en beter hierdoor?

Jammer ook dat niet even stil werd gestaan bij het verdienmodel van Qoin zelf. Qoin is een van de mede-organisatoren van deze middag en bestaat al langere tijd. Wat is hun belang, waar verdienen zij hun geld of punten mee? Rob gaf overigens zelf een voorbeeld van hoe het zou kunnen: ik geef een lezing voor 1200 punten, ik vraag iemand in de zaal om voor 1600 punten bij mij een advies te komen verrichten, saldo Qoin -400, saldo van de zaal +400. Paradox van deze middag was dat van geen enkele partij het verdienmodel expliciet werd gemaakt. LvdO iets met subsidies neem ik aan, Qoin geen flauw idee, Caire ook niet duidelijk maar zie hieronder.

Sessie: Caire.nu

Ik had graag bij alle sessies aanwezig willen zijn maar dat is technisch nu eenmaal niet mogelijk. Hier een korte persoonlijke impressie van de Caire presentatie.

Waar gaat het om? De vraag naar zorgdiensten zal de komende decennia alleen maar toenemen (o.a. door de vergrijzing), dat betekent een enorme stijging van de inzet van personeel en menskracht. Daar is het geld en de mensen niet voor beschikbaar. Aan de andere kant heeft de kring mensen om de vragers heen (de lokale gemeenschap) potentie hier een bijdrage te leveren. Het concept is eigenlijk heel simpel. Caire wil een marktplaats zijn voor vraag en aanbod van lokale zorg gericht op het vrijwilligers circuit. Ik zoek iemand die mij naar het ziekenhuis kan brengen. Ik zet een oproep op het Caire netwerk. Iemand uit mijn buurt wil graag voor mij rijden en wij sluiten een deal. De chauffeur bouwt daarmee punten en waardering op (gesproken werd van caire-miles en caires-smiles). Die punten kun je voor je eigen (latere) behoefte inzetten dan wel (in de toekomst) inruilen voor echte goederen of diensten in de lokale economie (als voorbeeld werd bioscoopbezoek genoemd). Ook mooi is dat het systeem uit gaat van de kracht van de burger. Ook iemand met een ziekte kan nog heel veel dingen en die kun je dus ook aanbieden in het systeem.

Er is een digitale marktplaats waar vraag en aanbod elkaar ontmoeten ontwikkeld en het zou hier gaan om open source software die algemeen gebruikt kan worden zonder betaling. Specifiek voor eigen toepassing kan het systeem gekocht of gehuurd worden tegen normale betaling. Ook kunnen diensten worden ingehuurd van Caire om de opstart van zo’n locale applicatie te begeleiden. Bij dit initiatief is een aantal grote spelers betrokken (een verzekeraar en een bank en aantal gemeentes). Per 1 februari 2012 gaat het van start. Of het gaat werken is gewoonweg niet bekend, geven de initiatiefnemers ruiterlijk toe. In het buitenland (Japan werd een aantal keren aangehaald) is dit systeem echter bewezen succesvol.

Ook hier weer een paar vragen en bedenkingen:

  • Zoals gezegd: wat is het verdienmodel van Caire?
  • Een mooi initiatief en ik hoop dat het gaat werken. Maar ergens zit een stemmetje in mij dat zegt: is dit niet een legitimatie van grote partijen om hun bestaande ding te kunnen blijven doen ook al is dat inefficiënt (en/of behoefte aan een nieuw verhaal, zie hierboven Harry te Riele). Het is gewoon een slimme bezuinigingsoperatie door de inzet van vrijwilligers. Eventueel bestaande (niet marktconforme) salarissen en bonussen binnen de verzekeraar en bank worden zo gelegitimeerd.
  • Waarom laten die grote partijen niet het goede voorbeeld zien door de punten geldig te maken voor korting op de hypotheek, betaling van de ziektekosten premie, vermindering van de belasting? Naar mijn smaak werd iets te heftig benadrukt dat dit echt een systeem erbij is want ‘wij blijven tenslotte een financiële instelling’ en ‘mijn hypotheek moet ook worden betaald’.
  • Er is goed nagedacht over de juridische structuur van Caire. Het gaat om een coöperatie met leden. Iedereen kan lid worden (svp de condities melden van toetreding) en er is een bestuur, ledenraad etc. Maar hoe voorkom ik nu dat er uiteindelijk een nieuwe organisatie ontstaat waar weer gewoon wat mensen op de loonlijst staan die papier verschuiven?
  • In wezen gaat het technisch om een eenvoudige opzet. Sterker nog, daar zijn al gratis systemen voor te vinden op internet. De truc is dat grote partijen zich moeten scharen achter het concept en dat er een kritische massa van gebruikers komt. Maar dat hoeft op zichzelf niets te kosten. Ik vermoed dat er nu al veel geld is gaan zitten in adviesbureaus die een huisstijl ontwikkelen, logootje hier en daar, reclame zus en zo, acquisitie en lobby-werk her en der.
  • Nog vele praktische vragen: wat doe je als het steeds dezelfde mensen zijn die een beroep doen en steeds dezelfde die een vraag uitzetten? Het gaat hier bewust om een uur-voor-uur systeem, wat doe je als bepaalde diensten schaars zijn en een uur geen uur meer is? En zo kan ik er nog wel tien of twintig bedenken.
  • Maar los van dit soort zwartkijkerij (maar mensen, transparantie mag, laat gewoon zien die cijfers!) is het mooi dat er zoiets aan staat te komen. Voor mij weer een bevestiging dat het kan en niet zo ingewikkeld hoeft te zijn.

Afsluiting

Een zinvolle middag. Prima georganiseerd, zowel qua vorm als qua inhoud. Ik denk dat ‘we’ dit vaker moeten doen. De groep hoeft voor mij niet zo groot te zijn. Maar is voor mij wel een teken dat het leeft, dat er iets aan staat te komen.

Rudy van Stratum

 


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