We all see the world through different eyes. But somebody else's point of view and outlook on life can give us an entirely new understanding, can give us inspiration and new ideas. In these blogs John Hogervorst, Michel Bijpost and Elske Bijpost share their personal observations and perspectives on freedom, equality and solidarity. Feel free to give us your comments.
What is ‘democracy’? Simply said: democracy is about having the right and opportunity to be part of the process of reflecting, deliberating and making decisions that concern us all. And thus democracy is essential in this modern age - which is populated by headstrong individuals like you and me.... read more
The terrorist attacks in Brussels, Ankara and West Africa are still fresh in our memories. Innocent people killed or wounded. For many people: deep wounds that might never heal. In many people’s lives fear makes its entrance. People are driven apart. Individual people suddenly belong to a group. Their unique individuality is no longer seen... read more
Small Dutch news: workers in home care structurally get paid less hours than they work. About one third of their actual working time is not paid.
Bigger news from America: paying bonuses to executives and others who do their work well when their jobs need entrepreneurship and creativity is useless.... read more
While in the past we used to consider ourselves more as part of a community (family, village community, tribe or religious community), more and more people now see themselves more as an individual than as part of a group. And it looks as if this process of individualization, worldwide, is not finished yet.... read more
Most conscientious consumers already look for fair trade articles on the shelves: chocolate, tea, fruit, marmalade and coffee. When buying fair trade, you show solidarity with workers' rights worldwide and you ensure that the people who made the products get a fair deal and earn enough to make a living for themselves and their families.... read more
In several countries mortgage rates are attractive, home prices are easing and employment is improving, but still too many people cannot afford to buy a home.
Therefore more and more people are looking for alternative approaches to home ownership, like 'leasing-to-own' or 'shared equity'.... read more
During his first speech as the new leader of the Dutch GreenLeft party, Jesse Klaver revealed the party’s latest enemy: ‘economism’. Public debate in our society is dominated by it, says Klaver. There is something terribly wrong with the way we live today. For thirty years we have only been pursuing our own material self-interest. The entire public debate is dominated by economism... read more
The Summer Foundation strives for a society in which everyone receives a fair share of what mankind and the earth produce and in which we all contribute our share as well.
Before the division of labour became an essential part of society, men, women and children tended to work side-by-side in family-based agricultural production, often doing different chores, but... read more
People use banks to look after their money and they do this because they trust that those banks will keep their money safe. But in recent years banks have shown that they cannot always be trusted. Some banks act more in their own interest than in the interest of their clients, other banks were engaged in trading in so-called "financial products" that were so complex that only a few people knew what these “products” were and had knowledge of the risks involved.... read more
Researchers have known for decades that rising education levels positively influence a host of social factors: income, health, voting rates and even the likelihood that a person will stay out of prison. We all know education matters. Then why do we still not seem to be able to make education fun, and the school a place where today's youth wants to be?... read more
A unique case: a Dutch court ordered the Dutch state, to take more action to reduce its carbon emissions and to ensure that the Dutch emissions will at least be 25% lower in 2020 than in 1990. The court's ruling was based on two arguments:... read more
"But," he stammered, "... but, you want something that cannot be done! You want people to share things and stop acting out of selfishness. That's impossible!" - That was what the tax official sighed when we tried to explain our goals... read more
It was during the period that we were busy founding the Summer Foundation. At that time we wanted to ensure that our foundation would be eligible for the Dutch "ANBI" status, which means that donations made to the foundation in The Netherlands will be tax deductible. Although eventually we received the ANBI status, it took quite some effort to make this happen.... read more
Have you already read it in our news section: the Spanish edition of People Money - The promise of regional currencies written by Margrit Kennedy, Bernard Lietaer and John Rogers was recently published. The Summer Foundation made the translation of this edition possible.... read more
Do you think that land and resources should be private property or should they belong to the community? In our current economy the relationship between land and money is fairly obvious. If you have money you can buy land and resources and then sell these at your discretion.... read more
Many social developments that occur in areas outside the economy, are in fact determined by economic interests.
Medicinal drugs against diseases that mainly occur in Third World countries are not developed or marketed because the people who really need them... read more
"Yes, nice: liberty, equality and fraternity. A world where people are free, equal, and both living and working together - I'm all for it! But how can we bring that world closer?"
That is a fair question. Shall we therefore start the new year with three tips, three new year’s resolutions that - when we stick to them – can perhaps ... read more
"Free, equal and together" - the motto of the Summer Foundation - who can be against that? In our ever-growing Initiatives Database we try to show the number of people around the world that is already working towards tipping the balance towards the positive side.... read more
When in 1789 the French Revolution broke out, the ideals of the revolution - freedom, equality and fraternity - spread through Europe and beyond. These ideals offered hope to those who worked themselves to the bone, in poor conditions, trying to keep their heads above water, and awakened fear amongst many people who, on the basis of rank, position or possessions, were well-off.... read more
Of course my neighbour may borrow my drill the few times that he needs it. And every three years I borrow his ladder to clean the gutters. The internet has made the world a lot smaller and has given me ‘more neighbours’. If we want to, and make clear agreements, we can very well share access to make use of cars, washing machines, lawn mowers and what not - and do this for free or pay each other for it.... read more
In our modern society there is a large and important area where people are working for others on a daily basis; though strangely enough, we are not always aware of this.
What area is that?
Take the baker for instance; he gets up early every morning to bake fresh bread.... read more
We humans can do a lot together, more than we can do on our own. Yet everything we try to do together is not easy. No one can say that living or working together or sharing is easy.
Living together leads too often to conflict or division.
Working together can result in a fight or paralysis.
And sharing is usually very difficult too...... read more
Imagine you live in Kenya in the middle of nowhere. Your whole family has saved money, so you can go to university in Nairobi, to have a better future. After university you manage to find a job in Nairobi and soon you earn more money than the rest of your family. To support the family – who still lives in Kenya’s far north - you want to send them some money every now and then. But what is the best way to do that?... read more
Education, art, religion, science, health care, everything that happens in these sectors, should take place in a ‘free zone`. Those who are working in these sectors should be able to do their work based on their own skills and experience, while those who would like to make use of their services, should be able to choose freely. ... read more
In my first blog about democracy: "A (tricky) question about democracy", I claimed, a bit tricky, that there are issues on which we cannot, or should not, decide democratically. In my second blog about democracy, "Democracy and independence" I concluded that democracy in historical perspective is a relatively new phenomenon that is related to the growing independence of the individual and that democracy... read more
In the distant past, people lived in communities in which man as an individual was subordinate to the interests of the community to which he/she belonged. Everyday life, the organization of society, the decisive influence of religion on all aspects of life - was all determined without input from the ‘ordinary` individual. ... read more
People of a certain age often, luckily not always, have problems with learning new things. Metaphorically speaking, they doze off a little. Their curiosity decreases and they are getting afraid of changes. When you have come to that age, you mostly also stop asking yourself whether you are doing things the right way.... read more
For decades theorists have argued that democracy should not just be based on votes but also on the incorporation of public debate – in the last few years we have seen a rising number of practical initiatives aimed at realizing this theoretical claim.... read more
Money that circulates in the cycle outlined in my last blog “The-circulation-of-money” is money that - judged from a social point of view - fulfills a useful and desirable role. Money outside this cycle does not fulfill a socially desirable task, or even worse, can have socially harmful consequences. This is the case with many activities in the financial world.... read more
Money that goes from hand to hand does what money actually should do: it enables transactions, investments and development. Money in circulation is money at its best. Money that doesn’t circulate, doesn’t contribute to the production of goods, to the development of the economy and neither does it encourage the development of human skills or creativity. Therefore it is good to give money an expiry date. But how do we do that?... read more
How much money is actually needed?
This question is, of course, partly impossible to answer. But on the other hand, it’s not: every person should have enough money to be able to fulfill his or her needs. If, from this point of view, there wouldn’t be enough money... read more
Let's look at money once more, but in another way and ask ourselves: what can you actually do with money?
In the first place we use money to buy things. After all, we need food, clothing, a roof over our heads and so on. With money we buy the things we need to live.... read more
But isn’t there another way that value is created, for instance in the financial world?
No, that is not correct. Making money is not the same as creating value.
Yes, it is true that people make money by trading stocks, shares, with investments and with everything else that is invented in the financial world. ... read more
Money in itself has no value. Does money receive and retain its value when people trust each other to honour the existing agreements about money as a means of exchange, a unit of account and as a means to preserve value?
No, faith alone is not enough to reach a well-functioning monetary system.... read more
In the previous blog “Functions of Money” the three functions of money were described. But does that make us understand what money is? If you would wash ashore a deserted island in a lifeboat with a few suitcases loaded with money, you would quickly find out that the best way to use your money there, would be to use it to light a fire. My ATM card will not be of any use when I travel westward along the Amazon River deep into the rainforests. ... read more
Money is and remains one of the major themes when striving to reach a world with more freedom and equality; a world where people cooperate more and better and share prosperity. Understanding what money is, how it works and how it could work better, might be a very important step towards that world. In a series of short blogs, we will look at some important aspects of money. Your comments are more than welcome!... read more
In my previous blog "Towards the right price in five steps" I showed how to make it possible to calculate true prices in five steps. Surprisingly, maybe, it seemed not too complicated to take these steps. Certainly not in our time. Thanks to modern technology it is possible to gather and process data at high speed and to quickly connect with people from all over the world.... read more
In my last blog “Fair prices and common sense” I promised to look more accurately at what is needed to make sure that products have a fair price. And actually, it is not even that difficult to come up with a solution, see for yourself:
Step 1: bring everyone involved in product X together (virtually or in real life)... read more
Isn’t it remarkable that sometimes you clearly know that what you are doing is not right, and yet, you are not able to do it differently.
In a previous blog I wrote that paying a fair price for all that I - as a consumer - purchase is a matter of common sense: Blog on Fairtrade. But if I do my daily shopping and would strictly only buy products with ‘true prices’, it will not be easy to find everything I need. ... read more
"Help is nice, but a fair price for our coffee is even better. Then we no longer have to hold out our hands." This urgent call by some coffee farmers in Mexico in 1988 led to the creation of the Max Havelaar label. In November 1988 the first 'Fairtrade coffee’ became available. Now, 25 years later, fairtrade is a well-known concept, some thousands of Fairtrade products are available and the fairtrade movement is active in dozens of countries.... read more
Today’s news: whether an event, a photo, a catchy quote... It is old news before you really had time to think about it and before you know it, the next news item is already making headlines again.
If at times you want to think certain news through, you can be sure that you can’t keep up with the facts. ... read more
My neighbour eats meat that costs only a few euros per kilo. Apparently he is not very interested in the quality of his food, or in the life of the animal that ends up on his plate. He dresses in baggy trousers that look like they are produced by people who have to work hard and long hours for little pay.... read more
Yesterday something really shocking happened. At ten o'clock in the evening my neighbour walked into my house and went straight to the fridge. Without batting an eyelid, he put the entire contents in two large shopping bags and walked straight back out of the door again. On his way out, one of the bags tore open, leaving a trail of broken bottles, sauces and jam jars in my living room and hallway. The dirty stains in my carpet are the sad remains of his strange action. ... read more
As a runner I´m lucky to live in Drenthe, which, unlike many other parts of the Netherlands, has been a sparsely populated rural area. Whichever direction I choose, my route always takes me through woods and meadows, along streams and fields, old farms or dolmens.... read more
You’re sitting outside in a chair, looking at the clouds slowly drifting by. You imagine that you are an astronaut travelling to the moon. Now you are standing on the moon and in the distance you see a blue planet with an atmosphere, oceans and continents. The planet you are watching has evolved 4.6 billion years in order to reach its present state. ... read more
At a certain age you can’t help noticing that time is passing: it’s the first thing you see when you look into the mirror in the morning. But, by just looking away or letting the mirror get foggy, you can still escape from reality.
This gets different at the breakfast table.... read more
Land grabbing is a game I used to play as a kid. You drew a circle in the sand with a stick or knife and drew a straight line through the middle to divide it in two. One half was then named my territory and the other half was owned by my friend. After that we started the game by throwing our penknife in the plane of the other. If the blade stuck into the ground and stood upright you then drew a line up to and around the knife and in this way the area gained was added to your own territory.... read more
The Dutch postal company ‘Post.nl’ has recently changed the price of a stamp needed to send a letter from € 0.50 to € 0.54, an increase of 8 percent. The company will surely have its reasons for such a rise in price?
Did the quality of their service perhaps drastically improve? ... read more