Illustration by Roberlan Borges Paresqui

Redesigning the Economy to Reflect the Goodness of People

A Call for a Fairer, Sustainable Future — From Ownership to Governance, a Comprehensive Look at the Future of our Economy

8 min readApr 27, 2023


Ownership, work and money as the core of our economies and lives

Ownership refers to the right to control and use property, including land, buildings, and intellectual property. Work refers to the labor that individuals provide to produce goods and services, and is often tied to income and economic security. Money serves as a medium of exchange and a store of value, allowing individuals to acquire goods and services and accumulate wealth over time. These three elements are interconnected and influence one another, with ownership and work often determining access to money and financial resources. In capitalist economies, ownership and work are often concentrated in the hands of a few individuals or corporations, leading to wealth inequality and a lack of economic mobility for many. As we continue to navigate the complexities of modern economies, it is important to consider the ways in which ownership, work, and money impact our lives and work towards creating more equitable and just systems.

Our Economy losing track with its people

There is a growing concern that our economy is losing track with its people. While economic growth and GDP are often used as measures of a country’s success, they do not necessarily reflect the well-being of its citizens. Many people feel left behind by the current economic system, with rising inequality, stagnant wages, and a lack of social mobility. Additionally, there is a growing awareness of the environmental and social costs of economic growth, such as climate change and income inequality. These challenges highlight the need for a more inclusive and sustainable economy that prioritizes the needs and well-being of all individuals. This could include policies such as a living wage, universal healthcare, and investment in education and infrastructure. Ultimately, our economy must be designed to work for all people, not just a privileged few, in order to ensure a more just and prosperous society.

Goal: explore how our economic model can transform into a better, fairer future

While the current economic model has brought tremendous growth and prosperity to many, it has also left behind large segments of the population and contributed to environmental degradation and social inequality. Transforming our economic model requires a multifaceted approach that addresses systemic issues such as wealth inequality, access to healthcare and education, and environmental sustainability. It also requires a shift in mindset from individualism and competition to collaboration and solidarity. Some potential strategies for creating a better, fairer economic future include investing in renewable energy, creating more equitable tax policies, expanding access to affordable housing and education, and supporting worker cooperatives and other alternative business models. Ultimately, the path towards a better economic future will require the collective effort of governments, businesses, and individuals to create a more just and sustainable society.

The Shift in Self-Image

Key change we are facing: shift in our self-image as humanity

One of the key changes we are facing as a society is a shift in our self-image as humanity. For centuries, humans have viewed themselves as separate from the natural world, and have used our technological advancements to dominate and control the environment. However, this perspective is beginning to shift as we confront the realities of climate change and environmental degradation. Increasingly, we are recognizing our interconnectedness with the natural world, and the importance of living in harmony with the planet. This shift in self-image is not only necessary for our survival, but it is also leading to a transformation in our economic and social systems. We are beginning to see the emergence of more sustainable business models, a growing interest in renewable energy and resource conservation, and a reimagining of the role of governments and institutions in promoting social and environmental justice. Ultimately, this shift in our self-image has the potential to create a more equitable, sustainable, and just society for all.

Current governance model based on protecting humans from each other

Governments are responsible for maintaining law and order, protecting individual rights, and preventing harm to citizens from external and internal threats. This approach to governance has been developed over centuries, and has evolved to include a range of institutions and policies designed to ensure the safety and security of citizens. However, this model has also been criticized for its focus on individual rights at the expense of collective well-being, and for its failure to address systemic issues such as poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation. There is a growing recognition that the current governance model is inadequate to address the complex challenges we face as a global society, and that a more collaborative and inclusive approach is needed. This could include greater emphasis on participatory democracy, stronger social safety nets, and a more integrated approach to addressing environmental and social challenges. Ultimately, the current governance model must evolve to better reflect the interconnectedness of our world and the need for collective action to create a more just and sustainable society.

Outdated anthropological point of view

There is growing recognition that the anthropological point of view that has shaped much of our understanding of human societies is outdated and incomplete. The traditional anthropological view portrays humans as fundamentally individualistic and self-interested, driven by a desire for power and material possessions. However, this view overlooks the social and cultural contexts in which humans operate, as well as the importance of empathy, cooperation, and compassion in human behavior. Moreover, this perspective fails to account for the complex interplay between social and environmental factors in shaping human behavior and societies. As we continue to grapple with complex challenges such as climate change, inequality, and social injustice, it is critical to move beyond this outdated anthropological point of view and embrace a more holistic and nuanced understanding of human societies. This could include greater emphasis on interdisciplinary research and collaboration, as well as a shift in cultural narratives towards more compassionate and cooperative values. Ultimately, by challenging and transcending outdated anthropological perspectives, we can create a more just, equitable, and sustainable society for all.

Gretchenfrage of modern economics: underlying conception of humanity

The Gretchenfrage, or fundamental question, of modern economics is the underlying conception of humanity that shapes economic theory and practice. Traditional economic models are based on a narrow and individualistic view of humanity, emphasizing self-interest, rationality, and material gain. However, this perspective fails to account for the complex social and cultural factors that shape human behavior and decision-making. Moreover, it perpetuates a system that values profit over people and has contributed to growing inequality, environmental degradation, and social injustice. To address the Gretchenfrage of modern economics, it is necessary to develop a more holistic and nuanced understanding of humanity, one that recognizes the importance of empathy, cooperation, and social connections in shaping economic behavior. This could include greater emphasis on alternative economic models, such as community-based economies and solidarity economies, that prioritize the well-being of individuals and communities over profit. Ultimately, by challenging and redefining our conception of humanity, we can create a more just, sustainable, and equitable economic system that benefits all members of society.

Remote Work as Case Study for Society

The shift towards remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a revealing example of how the underlying image of people affects the economic potential of companies. Many CEOs and managers have traditionally viewed employees as untrustworthy and in need of close supervision to ensure productivity. However, the pandemic has forced companies to experiment with remote work, and the results have been surprising. Despite initial concerns about decreased productivity and communication difficulties, many companies have found that remote work actually increases productivity and allows for greater flexibility and work-life balance. Additionally, employees have been shown to be more open and accessible when working remotely, and to be more focused on delivering results rather than just putting in hours. These findings suggest that the traditional view of employees as untrustworthy and in need of close supervision is outdated and incorrect. Rather, companies that embrace remote work and trust their employees to be responsible and productive can reap significant economic benefits and create a more engaged and loyal workforce.

Redesigning Gov-Model

Moral hazard is taken out of the equation and corporations start to redesign their gov-model

The assumption that moral hazard is taken out of the equation in the design of a new government model for corporations is a crucial starting point. This would involve creating a framework that prioritizes the interests of all stakeholders, including employees, customers, shareholders, and the wider community. To achieve this, the new government model could incorporate several features, including inclusive cap tables that allow for wider ownership and participation, democratic voting structures that give all stakeholders a voice in decision-making, and a zero-management approach that emphasizes collaboration and self-organization. Mental modeling could be used to promote more ethical decision-making, while community-zation could foster greater engagement and accountability. Ultimately, the market should be used as a tool to promote sustainable growth and equitable outcomes, with an ownership stack that prioritizes long-term value creation over short-term profits. Collaboration with competitors could be encouraged to promote innovation and reduce waste, while compensation should be tied to a range of social and environmental metrics. Hybrid offices and remote work could be used to create more flexible and inclusive work environments, while AI and automation could be harnessed to improve efficiency and reduce waste. However, gig work and mental health and wellbeing must be carefully managed to ensure that workers are not exploited or put at risk. Workforce diversity should be actively promoted to ensure that all voices are heard, and DAOs could be used to give workers greater control over their own lives and livelihoods. Overall, a new government model for corporations must be designed to promote human flourishing and environmental sustainability, and to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are shared by all members of society.


Call to realize the goodness of people

It is time to recognize the fundamental goodness of people and the potential for cooperation and collaboration to create a more just and sustainable society. The traditional view of humanity as fundamentally individualistic and driven by self-interest has proven inadequate in addressing the complex challenges of our time, from climate change to social injustice. However, the emergence of new economic models, community-based initiatives, and innovative technologies suggests that a more hopeful future is possible. By designing economic and social systems that prioritize empathy, cooperation, and social connection, we can harness the power of collective action to create a better world for all. Ultimately, the call to realize the goodness of people is a call to reimagine our relationship with each other and with the planet, and to build a future that is more just, sustainable, and equitable.

Need to redesign economy to reflect this reality. Beyond Humans.

The need to redesign the economy to reflect the reality of our interconnectedness and interdependence has never been more urgent. The challenges we face today, from climate change and environmental degradation to inequality and social injustice, demand a fundamental shift in our economic model. We must move away from a narrow and individualistic view of humanity and embrace a more holistic and inclusive approach that values the well-being of all members of society and the planet. This will require bold and innovative solutions, from community-based economies and solidarity economies to new technologies and social initiatives. Ultimately, the redesign of the economy must be driven by a deep commitment to social and environmental justice, and a recognition of the fundamental goodness of people and the potential for collective action to create a better future for all. By working together to reimagine the economy, we can build a more just, sustainable, and equitable society that reflects our shared humanity and values.




Ben is a product strategist and designer experienced working with company builders and venture studios. He's based in Berlin.