In a previous post I wrote about basic income, the idea that everyone in a society receives money for simple expenses such as food and housing, regardless of whether they work or not. Trends in demographics and technology are driving the idea of and need for basic income.
This blog is premised on our social nature and our innate sense of fairness. Those impulses lead to the design, distribution, pricing and promotion of social goods, or marketing the social good. Trends in demographics and technology are pointing to a major change in our society where there are more people than jobs. As social beings concerned with fairness, should we provide universal basic income for everyone, regardless of whether they work?
Marketers often benchmark their goods and services against the competition. For countries, the main benchmark for nearly a century has been Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. The United States rules in GDP. While increasing GDP does correlate with some improvement in social conditions, it is purely an economic measure. As the measure of a country, a society, it’s narrow and incomplete. The Social Progress Index goes beyond gross domestic product to measure what makes a country great for its citizens: meeting basic needs, providing for wellbeing, and offering opportunity.
In a recent retirement study by Transamerica, respondents of all ages said that they would need to save at least $1 million to feel secure in retirement. If we all did that, we’d be a society of millionaires. There’s a big disconnect here, though, because the survey also shows people are nowhere near on track to save a million bucks with the IRA and 401k plans available today. Designing better retirement accounts is a strong first step towards financial security.
The Harvard Study of Adult Development is a very long longitudinal study. For 75 years, the study has gathered data on two cohorts: 268 men who were sophomores at Harvard in 1938, and 456 boys who lived in low-income neighborhoods in Boston at the same time. A main focus of the study is alcohol abuse and alcoholism, but with so much data over such a long period of time, plenty of other findings await. One major finding relates to what makes people happy in the long run.
“Viral” has taken on a new, and mostly positive, connotation in the Internet era. A video, a photo, an article bursts onto the digital stage and suddenly it’s everywhere. Everyone is talking about it, copying it, satirizing it, secretly wishing that they were making viral content. Remember the Ice Water Challenge or “Gangam Style“? The gossipy nature of viral ideas is one aspect of our social nature.
You might think of the social insects as builders: ants and termites, bees and wasps. Social mammals also build for the community. For instance, tunneling mammals like prairie dogs, voles and meerkats build communal networks of tubes and chambers.
In a recent presentation, research and senior TED fellow Genevieve von Petzinger showed 32 ancient graphical symbols that she found repeated in cave paintings and hieroglyphics arounds the world. This consistent set of symbols appeared 30,000 – 40,000 years ago and remained in use for thousands of years. It’s possible that this is the precursor to writing.
To continue bringing you topics of interest in the new year, I took a look back at what you read the most this year. Here are the top five posts published in 2015, as measured by your views: