MoneyLab#3 Failing Better: Introduction by Geert Lovink

On December 1 & 2, MoneyLab#3 Failing Better assessed the ambition of financial provocations that have ignited to establish a terrain of social and political reform, from decentralized networks to state governments. The rift we find ourselves in goes much further than ‘the banks’ and financial retaliation can be considered more than attempts to fail better.

After Bitcoin forked, and remains in tatters, it is now blockchain technology that ignites visions of deregulated and decentralized organization, while it is simultaneously sanitized by commercial banks. Meanwhile the sharing and “service” economy lost its innocuous veneer and streaming services have failed and continue to fold the music industry. Despite the mutation of crowdfunding into crowd-equity and platform co-operatives, artists and designers continue to struggle to financially support themselves. All the while the financial mediators of the previous centuries continue to drag themselves onward into global debt.

We are failing better, nonetheless. Workers’ unions are on the rise and numerous collectives are working together to collectively ensure their own wellbeing and build alternative models of social governance. The aspirations of grassroots organizations such as DiEM25, that promise to liberate social democracy from the stronghold of global finance, are gaining momentum across Europe. People’s parties such as Podemos and the Five Star Movement get closer to an electoral majority. This momentum has thrust radical economic alternatives onto center stage and some governments in Europe have begun experimenting with progressive policies such as a living working wage and a universal basic income.