We once again meet at Info.nl to continue work on the ideas explored in the previous meetup.
We look at this infographic: ‘Hoe ongelijk is het geld in Nederland eigenlijk verdeeld?’. It shows the facts about wealth inequality in the Netherlands, but in a somewhat convoluted way. It also doesn’t tell a story so it is to be expected people viewing this will not be persuaded of a particular point of view.
We talk about a few resources some of us have collected.
Next we discuss an idea that emerged in conversations on our chat system: a tool that informs people about inequality by making it personal. In the tool you would input some personal figures and then it shows where you are on the wealth/income spectrum.
The origin of this idea is the observation that most people think they’re somewhere in the middle of society’s wealth distribution when in fact they are somewhere in the bottom. From reading and conversations we’ve had the hypothesis has emerged that if we could give people insight into their actual position this might change their attitude and inspire action. E.g. ‘Ongelijk en onwetend’.
Let’s say we manage to build a thing that will enable people to accurately determine where they are on the ladder. Then what? We should use the energy produced by offering such insights towards a certain end.
We brainstorm some ideas. These include:
We talk some more about how things could work. We could play on the fact that most people overestimate where they are on the ladder. So they could be asked to guess where they are first, then enter some data, then see where they really are.
To make it more meaningful we could also show how their position has likely changed over time. And maybe do some projections into the future.
For people to really care though, we also need to talk about the social impact of inequality. We shouldn’t frame it as a personal, individual problem.
To be inspiring we should tell a story of what a society with less inequality would look like. This would play into the idea of self-interest properly understood. Even if you yourself are doing okay, reducing inequality will improve the lives of the community you are part of, which in turn should benefit you.
If we were to build this we should start by doing it as a ‘lean’ experiment.
Finally, we muse on the question of how to make the thing itself more democratic. It should be of use to everyone who enters data. So we should make the software open source and open up the data we collect. There should be a chat group or mailing list for anyone who uses it. And we should have community editable documentation.
We wrap up with brainstorming what we should be doing next.
And with that, we end the meetup and leave, energised as always.