Hey, I am Akseli Virtanen, one of the initial thinkers behind Robin Hood and one of the co-founders then in June 2012.
If someone is interested in the first round of thoughts behind this, how we began, and why – take a look at this
It is an ok summary of the first two years or so.
So we had some wild ideas and really funny first meetings. I remember well the first members’ meeting in Helsinki in the autumn when we had launched the pilot and people had just started to join. We were so nervous of the meeting, like who are these strange people, what do they want, had they really got what we had in mind even if we knew we had been totally unable to communicate it in any reasonable way, as if things were so clear to us either.
But from that meeting on – which was by the way awesome (turning into a night long party!), there were 28 people present if I remember it right, every one there different, with his/her own story and ideas, but also with different desires and hesitations - I understood that this will work, that in the idea of cooperation which is organized and governed and ruled by its participants is something very powerful. I also understood then that this power has to do precisely with this heterogeneity, and remember thinking, I got to make sure we never lose that.
It also meant that we had to come up with a new form of organization. One that was not a community, based on some kind of common will or value or goal, but rather on taking risks, posing a challenge, introducing even conflict and division among ourselves, and of governing oneself and others in such a situation. So from the beginning, we have not been about being nice and responsible, doing what is accepted, staying in a place assigned to you.
It is a miracle that we are still here.
But the reason are the people who have gathered to do Robin Hood. I think it is a group of the most creative, brilliant, cooperative, uncooperative, dynamic, stubborn and crazy people I have ever met. I mean, I can’t get enough them. So, when we jointly understood, maybe after 1,5 years from the start, that we really have the power and imagination to reengineer finance (I remember well when @glovink put this to words first time), cash and risk flows, flows of dependencies and potentialities and organizational capacities lying latent but definitely build into its matter (like @Benjamin likes to always say!), new ideas started to break out. We are only at the beginning of understanding what we can do, how we can change finance, and the social architecture it produces. I think of finance as a place of creation.
And that makes me excited. For example, we are in the middle of thinking about a new more monstrous, open, digital and distributed form of financial services platform which will correspond to the needs of workers, makers, co-creators, peers, crowds becoming new kind of economic operators. A financial platform of the future. What could it be? What should it do? I think it should free finance to be social, cooperative to be unlimited, assets to be networked and capital to be distributed. A platform created, owned, governed by and benefiting its operators. Making our monetary and other assets - like knowledge, abilities, skills, networks - liquid, effortlessly moving, connecting, communicating and opening the field of possible. This is closer to poetry than economy in any old sense of the concept.
My background is in new political economy and finance and organizational experimentation – RH is the fifth in a series of serious studies on creation of new social, political and economic forms we have run - I did my PhD at the Helsinki School of Economics, a book is coming out soon called Arbitrary Power. A Contribution Towards a Critique of Biopolitical Economy (by n-1 Edições, forthcoming 2015) where also some basic premises of Robin Hood.
I am, like the rest of core team, working full time with the development of Robin Hood. Don’t hesitate to contact me if there is anything I can help you with. Or if you have some ideas!