If I’ve learned something from the current financial crisis, then it is that big systems may result in big disasters. So durability in times of crisis needs small, flexible systems with a good degree of autarky. If this is the case, recession should not really harm anybody: in Germany, the GDP may drop in 2009 by 0,5%, and with full flexibility of the economic system that should result in a 0,5% drop of income for everybody. Which does not harm. Now of course we don’t have such a flexible system, I cannot change it into one, and the unflexibility will result in a good amount of unemployedness. And we will have to deal with that: feeding unemployed people increases the drop of income well beyond that 0,5%, even in a fully flexible economy.
But, here’s a somewhat crazy idea how to deal with unemployed people immediately. Probably that idea is too crazy to try it out, but perhaps it’s crazy enough to inspire somebody for something more practical.
Here’s the idea: we need technology and ingenious organization to jump-start companies as “flash companies”: collect unemployed people on the street in any place of the world, give a smartphone to each of them, and press “start”. The system starts to coordinate, build task forces, analyse competence, educate etc.. If there’s enough money generated to keep the system running, it’s all ok. Slowly growing companies are not what we need in times of recession. After large companies went out of business and there are millions unemployed, we need rapid reconfiguration.
Such flash companies can build on the vast excess of material that’s available in people’s private households (at least in industrial nations). This is waste of resources and therefore a reason for recession (how can we argue that unnecessary buys would improve the economy, while it harms companies?).
Salary should be paid on a daily basis, to act as a motivation. The only precondition is that the employee did what he / she was told to do via the smartphone. Even better and more practical than paying salary is to give people what they need: food, medical treatment, places to rest. Whenever they need it (telling via the smartphone). Of course, people in industrial nations would want more, wherefore this kind of company mightnot work there (or it might, if people are allowed to enter personal wishes in specified amounts, like, “I want my bathroom renovated.”).
These flash companies should be organized as grassroots movements, without explicit organization structure, and with the software based coordination guaranteeing that no such explicit organization (and with it, exploitation of power) can arise.
The smartphone app should display realtime statistics about the flash companies daily income, in parallel to Wikipedia’s donation target.
The idea is that everybody has a bunch of contacts, competences and capabilities. And that just combining these can instantly lead to synergistic effects that are strong enough to uphold a company, earning money for every participant (it is not even necessary to select which people to add to the company, just to sort evil people out or to educate them). For example, somebody will know a possibility for a paid job, and others will contribute necessary competence and material. Precondition is extreme flexibility (working with other people every day, being called in the middle of the night by the smartphone etc.).
It is argued here that most companies don’t flourish because of bad leadership: wherefore the flash companies are led by software, which is far more consequent (i.e. forcing people to anonymously criticize each other).
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