It's an interesting question. Some might suggest that markets are inherently democratic spaces in which consumers are empowered to make their own decisions. Of course, the decisions that lead to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression were not, by and large, made by your average individual. And yet average individuals have far and away born the brunt of the suffering that emerged due to those decisions.
The near-complete failure of that system had lead to a great deal of consternation. It's consternation that is not unwarranted. The basic narratives upon which sizable chunks of the world had founded their lives. Work hard, excel at what you do, make smart decisions, and a life of reasonable prosperity will unfold for you.
It's just not so easy to believe in anymore. So much so, in fact, that the founder of the World Economic Forum, Professor Klaus Schwab, is on record as saying, "Capitalism, in its current form, no longer fits the world around us."
Schwab went on to say, "We have failed to learn the lessons from the financial crisis of 2009. A global transformation is urgently needed and it must start with reinstating a global sense of social responsibility."
Schwab isn't calling for the overthrow of capitalism. But he does seem to be sounding the alarms around the need of a significant restructuring. What might that "transformation", to use Schwab's own words, look like? Given current global dynamics, I might suggest that an effort to democratize the financial sector -- including financial institutions, might start us down the path of "global social responsibility" to which Schwab points.
To be sure, we are a ways from even the first steps of such a shift. But it was with this in mind that I happened upon a news item around the first crowdsourced credit card by Barclay Cards.
The new card will offer a low interest rate, low fees, simple terms and the opportunity for cardmembers to shape and share in the product’s financial success.
The online community leverages a social media forum where cardmembers can exchange ideas, share knowledge and provide direct feedback to Barclaycard Ring to help determine future features of the product. The community will also provide a forum where cardmembers can exchange ideas, share knowledge and provide direct feedback to Barclaycard US to help determine future features of the product.
Cardmembers will help determine how the card is managed, and a unique Giveback program will enable the community to share in the profit generated from its collective decisions.
Community members will be also able to view the card’s financial profit and loss statements, something Barclays says is a first.
Groundbreaking? Depends on your perspective, I suppose. But it's a step in an interesting direction based on the above context. You can also check out the short video below about how the card will work.