ChallengeUneven division of wealth leads to great inequalities, even in wealthy societies like in the Netherlands. In this short course project I took a deep dive into the source of our wealth so it may be distributed more evenly.
ConceptWith the service trading platform Errand I visualised how the value of work in itself can be made material. By taking money out of the equation it educates users on what wealth they can provide for their community.
ResultThe project contributed to my ability to process large volumes of different kinds of information and the resulting problem statement contains a new perspective on how we might define our wealth.
A lot of desk research and interviewing resulted in a large amount of contextual factors that influence how wealth is divided. Through many iterations of interpreting this information I concluded that we currently approach the division of wealth in two ways.
On one side of the equation we try to level out the playing field by redistributing income and capital. This classic approach takes shape in the form of progressive taxes on income and charities. Wealth is seen as a right for every individual but this approach fails to provide people with a way of attaining it themselves.
This outlines the other side of the worldview, where a bottom-up approach could empower individuals to attain their own wealth in a fair way. It raises the question how valuable work should be rewarded and what work really is valuable. To make this work, the needs of a continuously changing society should be aligned with the skills and abilities of its inhabitants.
To aid this process I concluded that the intervention should try to facilitate this process and educate individuals how they might contribute to the communities that they live in. Using the analogy of kids starting their own small businesses, central to the emerging concept should be the following interaction values:
“Rediscover what makes work valuable”
By listing skills and proficiency levels, people are encouraged to learn and develop without entering professional life just yet. After finding someone who has a compatible profile, users set up a trade themselves and have to value the work they put on offer.
To communicate the newly found design direction I embodied the new perspective on wealth division in an online platform. With Errand users have to trade services for services and get an idea of what value their work might bring to someone else in their community in a concrete way.