Why design such ways?

Programming a Collaborative Economy of Care

ReUnion Network’s economy is designed alongside many like-minded projects and propositions. Our references include: Fureai kippu[30], Buurtzorg[31], Broodfonds[32], the welfare state[33], various Universal Basic Income proposals such as Circle UBI[34], Commonfare[35], Dutch municipality Basic Income experiments[36], REC (Real Economy Currency)[37], and Doughnut Economics[38].

The key idea of the ReUnion Network economy is to create an economic model in which collaboration is not only an incentive (via a welfare scheme) but also a fundamental mechanism (via token engineering). At the same time, it attempts to unify individual freedom, common values, and balanced ecology in a carefully designed cryptocurrency mechanism and an elaborate exchange circuit based on subsistence and circulation, rather than accumulation.

Locality is an important consideration for ReUnion Network as care work can require a great deal of physical presence. Yet, the vision of the project is both local and translocal, as migration and globalization are two contexts within which the project engages. ReUnion Network does not have an exaggerated optimism about localism against globalism. Rather, ReUnion aspires to move beyond such binary and account for the intricacies and intertwinements of local and global contexts.

Regenerative Model of Care

The ReUnion Network potentially creates a regenerative model of care. The logic of the system motivates us to look for and negotiate the exchange of care activities in two directions, with money as a validating tool, and back-up for unexpected situations. This system of care exchange can be developed in addition to a current one-way exchange model of care for money.

Existing care situations wherein the ReUnion Network system could add advantages are in informal care and support, personal care budget or care services among friends. We refer to situations wherein we can solve something within a relationship that we would otherwise pay a third party for. ReUnion creates advantages in terms of (1) personal attention for the care receiver (2) relieving the shortage of healthcare staff and (3) increase realized care with the same amount of government subsidy (4) increase in communication between caregivers and care receivers that the right care is being given and is wholly received, with regular renegotiation[39].

To illustrate this potential, we use the current national personal care budget and compare the cost-effectiveness with the ReUnion model. Relating to monetary amounts from existing practical situations, we refer to tariffs for domestic help within the personal care budget (het persoonsgebonden budget, PGB) from the Netherlands. For 2019, the domestic help budget is calculated as 3665 euros[40]. Assuming that domestic help has a rate of 30 euros per one hour, the current budget provides 10 hours of domestic help per month.

Now, let us assume we use the same amount of fiat within the ReUnion Network. The 3665 euros are used to validate a Relationship contract in which care is exchanged. Instead of directly paying the care worker, the money is stored inside a contract as CCs, which used to validate an agreement for care on the contracts. When a user within the contract performs care, they receive 1 PT within the CCs. When the contract dissolves, the CCs will divide proportionally according to the number of PTs that each person received within the contract. The 3665 euros are distributed as monetized PTs to each user. In addition, the users can use the monetized PTs to create a new agreement of care without putting extra funds.

For the purposes of legibility, we assume one activity contract takes one hour to finish. The exchange of care and money within one year, for both situations, would be as follows:

One-way exchange of care for money

ReUnion Network

Ari receives 10h of domestic help per month by government assistance

Ari receives 8h of childcare help per month from Elliot.

Elliot receives 12h of childcare per month from Ari

Frankie receives 3665 euro from government subsidy for domestic work

Ari receives 12 PTs worth 2199 euro in total

Elliot receives 8 PTs worth 1446 euro in total

If Ari and Elliot decide after one year to continue their relationship of care, the CCs stay undivided in the contract and Ari and Elliot can continuously use the CCs to pay services and goods. Alternatively, they can use the PTs to start a new type of care relationship. As such, a regenerative model of care arises. In this way, a regenerative model of care arises.

This diagram builds on the repetitive element of the former diagram and shows how one care relationship can be followed up by another care relationship, indicating the potential for a regenerative model of care by ReUnion Network.

Additionally, the ReUnion model provides two people with 10 hours of care-assistance time, whereas the one-way exchange of care, only one person receives 10 hours of assistance. As such, more people are supported to have non-work, or free time, which ReUnion insists is a necessity for the well-being of all.

With free time as a part of their everyday lives, people are more likely to be physically, mentally, emotionally healthy, have a better capacity for quality and present engagements in caring relations with others, and be less likely to be lonely.