Kickstarting the Gift Economy

TODAY is the four year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. At the time of its bankruptcy, Lehman Brothers was the fourth largest investment bank in the world. How could it run out of money? And, why did this disrupt the global economy?

Lehman Brothers and other investment banks went down in part due to the huge amounts of money they lost in the sub-prime mortgage crisis. As a result of the crisis, there was less money available for consumption and investment activity, and businesses found it difficult to re-finance existing loans. This led to economic paralysis and stagnation, and the global financial system remains weak to this day.

While earning a certain level of income is necessary for survival, difficulties arise when the drive for constant growth and high incomes becomes the primary objective. The objective of constant growth is incompatible with a world that has limited physical, biological and energy resources. Furthermore, research consistently suggests that, beyond a certain point, having more money does not increase a person’s wellbeing.

Today, September 15th, is Free Money Day! Organised by the Post Growth Institute, Free Money Day is a global event in which people hand out their own money to complete strangers (two coins or notes at a time), and ask recipients to pass half to somebody else. The day aims to spark conversations about the benefits of economies based on sharing. Questions that may come up in your conversations today are ‘how much money is enough?’, ‘do we always need to grow our economies?’, and ‘would sharing make more common sense?’

Happy Free Money Day!

Insights from Australia’s Leading Social Sector Consulting Firm

SOCIAL VENTURES Australia (SVA) is a relatively new non-profit organisation.  Founded in 2002, SVA invests in social change projects to help increase the impact and build the sustainability of high potential organisations in the social sector.  SVA currently supports a range of promising organisations including AIME, STREAT, and Teach for Australia.

The consulting arm of SVA, aptly named “SVA Consulting“, is an even newer beast. Founded in 2007, SVA Consulting has quickly become Australia’s leading specialist consulting practice for the social sector.  Over the last 5 years, SVA Consulting has worked with over 160 organisations and delivered over 350 projects. Think of SVA Consulting as the “McKinsey” of the social sector.

Australia has a long history of coming up with innovative ideas: the Hills Hoist, the black-box flight recorder, and Cochlear implants. However, up until recently, the non-profit sector in Australia has borrowed heavily from ideas developed in the US, in particular from insights developed by the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Building on Australia’s long history of thought leadership and innovation, we are excited to report that SVA Consulting has decided to make their hard-won insights freely available to the public with the view to creating positive change in the social sector.  Launched on 16 August 2012, the SVA Consulting Quarterly is a new online publication dedicated to sharing new ideas, tools and methodologies with leaders, managers, and thinkers in the Australian non-profit sector.

To read the first issue of the SVA Quarterly, please click here.