Luke Robert Mason: You’re listening to the Futures Podcast with me, Luke Robert Mason.
On this episode I speak to co-founder of Kickstarter and author, Yancey Strickler.
It’s largely my theory that the post-internet innovation won’t be like AR or AI or whatever; another technological revolution. I think the revolution after the internet is consciousness—human consciousness. The networked organism of all of us. I don’t mean that in a singularity kind of way.
Yancey Strickler, excerpt from interview
Yancey shared his insights into the dangers of financial maximisation, why we should give greater consideration to our future selves, and how we can create a more abundant society.
This episode is an edited version of a recent live stream event. You can view the full, unedited version of this conversation at futurespodcast.net.
Luke Robert Mason: Now the modern world is defined by a values system that has narrowed into a money obsessed condition. In his new book, This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World, Yancey Strickler argues that our focus on maximising financial gain has led to a short term decision making that prioritises what we want and what we need, right now. This is fast becoming disruptive to society, but it doesn’t have to be this way. By giving a greater consideration to our future selves, the people who rely on us and the next generation, we can all find ways to create a new society focused on abundance for all.
So, Yancey, I want to kick off by asking you—I guess—the obvious question: why decide to write not just a book, but a manifesto?
Yancey Strickler: Um, it’s a great question. I sort of found me, more than I started out. My life before Kickstarter was that I was a music critic, a music journalist. My whole life, all I really cared about was writing. Becoming an entrepreneur was an unexpected side track. I stepped down as the CEO of Kickstarter almost three years ago, and wasn’t sure what the next project was going to be, but during the last few years at Kickstarter we’d spent a lot of time thinking about the macro-economic climate that the company resided in. This led us to become a public benefit corporation. To reclassify Kickstarter from a classic for profit corporation to a public benefit corporation as a legal structure in the United States—where I live—where a company must balance shareholder value with producing a positive benefit to society. This is a legal standard. That move was a long time coming for us, and let us do a lot to research and better understand what these expectations were for for profit companies.
For us—artists and accidental entrepreneurs who turned into founders of an important tech company.
Seeing that water that we swam in, feeling how different our own value system was from it just made me very aware of the incentive structure that companies live within—that most startups and for profit companies live inside of. How, even if you’re someone—say like me and a lot of people—who are trying to do ‘the right thing’, it’s quite difficult. The systems are optimised for very specific outcomes. The outcome that dominates over and over is whatever choice produces the most money. The litmus test, the secret code that runs the world is that the right answer in any decision is whichever option makes the most money. If you apply that lens to how the world operates, the world starts to seem a lot more rational.
A lot of the ways that regular people are screwed are extremely profitable. Forcing people to raise their incomes through debt rather than through paying them more money increases the money supply, and you get interest on that money after the factors. There are all sorts of ways that it makes sense if you just imagine that the end result of every decision is someone making more money than they would in another path. So, I wanted to understand the history of that idea, and I wanted to understand the philosophical underpinnings of it. I felt that through Kickstarter—both what the company did and how we approached the structure of the company—it was obvious to me that there were other paths available. The notion that all options funnel down to this one way, that all ideas must be optimised for profit maximisation—that’s just absurd. That’s simply the first and most powerful funnel that exists, but it’s not going to be the last one.
Even our shift to becoming a PBC, and even the notion of crowdfunding, where ideas are being supported not for financial self-interest, not for selfish “rational” reasons, but to help someone. To be a part of something, for all sorts of valid reasons and values that are also real, and that also drive human behaviour, and that get lost in a profit dominated world.
I was motivated by my own personal experience and also just a real belief that these are all things that are changeable, because this ideology entered the bloodstream more recently than we think. Many of us have watched this change happen in our lifetimes, which says that this change in this world that we live in is impermanent. It can evolve somewhere else, especially if we have a conscious vision of what that somewhere else should be.
Mason: That idea of financial maximisation—that’s really the problem that’s at the core of this book. I just wonder: how does this idea of financial maximisation, how does it really encompass the entire predicament we find ourselves in, in society today?
Strickler: You know the way I talk about being made aware of it was: I used to live in New York City, lived in New York for 20 years. In the lower East side, where I lived, there was an old place called Mars Bar. It was a punk dive bar that had been there forever. One day, it got torn down and replaced by a new bank, a TD bank branch. At the time, there were already three other branches of this exact same bank within a 15 minute walk of that same corner. I lived right around the corner from it and couldn’t understand why this was happening. It was like there was this virus infecting the neighbourhood overnight, just flipping storefronts into chains. I learned that more than 1000 bank branches opened across New York City over these years, shutting down local businesses.
What is the justification for this? I, as someone who lives in the neighbourhood, probably lose out in that situation. Mom-and-pop shops closing is a negative for the neighbourhood, so what is the justification? The justification is real-estate speculation. The justification is large mortgage payments that have to be remade and those get forced on smaller businesses who can’t remake it and then it eventually splits over to chains who can afford to pay that amount of money.
Basically, the reason why certain things die and certain things survive, the reason why entrepreneurship has shrunk and the market caps of companies have risen, is because everything has operated according to this philosophy, which is simply trying to amass economic power, using that economic power to change the rules in your favour, to encourage more of a monopolistic environment, and to more and more secure a market share, to secure a mine share. In the book, I show how this is a process that began in the 1970s with the financialisation of the economy. You could see the cultural change—and that is what I think is really profound.
I show a study that UCLA here in the United States has done for about 50 years. Every year, they interview incoming college freshman, 18 and 19 year olds. They ask them about their goals in life. One of the goals in life has to do with money; being well off financially. In 1970, the percentage of college freshmen who said being rich was essential, or very important, was just 28%. The most important life goal that year—1970—was to “develop a meaningful philosophy on life”, with 84% of college students saying that was essential or very important. The most recent year that the study came out, in 2017, the percentage of college freshmen who said that being rich was essential or very important was 82%. The percentage who said having a meaningful philosophy of life was less than half. If you chart all 15 values that are being asked each year, the growth in belief in being rich is by far the biggest change. The desire to become an artist, the desire to have a family and the desire to excel in your career are all fairly constant. This belief in wealth has really grown.
I think the value system of society shifted from moral values—beliefs of what is right and wrong—to economic value. Something that is tradeable, ownable, universal, and that is exploitable and gives power. It gives individual power and reinforces an individualistic culture. To me, that has been the shift. The power of humanistic values—those things have all shifted to economic value. We’re relying on price and money to basically be the proxy for everything else. We’ve been told that if we do that long enough, then in every way it’ll eventually work itself out. The prices, the markets will settle things out. But you know, we’re 50 years into this experiment.
Mason: You mention the 1970s but partly, wasn’t it the RAND Corporation and the emergence of game theory that really forced this idea of how we should build businesses and society?
Strickler: Yeah, I mean game theory was really important for a couple of reasons. This was developed at the RAND Corporation after World War II to strategise for the Cold War. Game theory is simply a mathematical process that lets you see basically every outcome; outcomes on outcomes, how events might change.
The challenge with game theory is that it presumes that interactions are competitive and are not cooperative; that interactions are a zero sum. Basically, what game theory nets out is that the rational desire for an individual in any sort of scenario is to maximise their personal self-interest. This is where you get things like prisoner’s dilemma where you’re taught that the rational choice for your self-interest is to rat out a friend because that is what satisfies your immediate needs. This, which is an extremely valid mathematical concept, got applied more broadly as a philosophical defense of individualism, and of the notion that we have shared responsibilities as a fiction. That’s something that they’re just telling you to do to try and control you, but in reality we’re all individuals and we have no responsibility for anyone or anything else. This is what Thatcher represented. A lot of the personal responsibility movement is really about—it’s all about the individual and there is no collective obligation. Really, that mindset is about freeing those who have resources from having any obligation. It’s trying to negate that cultural value of looking after your neighbour.
The way I’ve come to visualise it: in tech we have tech stacks. You have your database, you have your back-end architecture, your front-end architecture. Then finally, you have your graphic interface for the end user. I think values function the same way. At the bottom layer—the database level—there are cultural and moral values and beliefs. The things that you believe are right and wrong, that are unique to you and your society. But built on top of those cultural values, are rules, laws and norms. Laws are an expression of our cultural beliefs, the reason why we say certain things are right and wrong is a reflection of some deeper moral core. Finally, built on top of those rules and laws are metrics and incentives. How do we measure the outcomes of our expressions of value?
Each of these layers onto the next. Moral-cultural, rules on top of that, and metrics and incentives on top of that. What’s happened over the past 40 years is that the incentive layer, which today is money, has gotten all of the power. Incentives are being used to rewrite the rules. The rules are being used to reset cultural values, and instead of being a society oriented from a moral/cultural value space and building on top of that, we’ve become a society rooted on an incentive layer. We’re reverse engineering our world around that. To me, the challenge is: How do you change that cultural/moral level at the deepest root level? Because if you change at the root level, other things start to build and cascade from there.
The theory I come up with in the book—which is about expanding how we define self interest, and expanding how we define value—to me is that cultural/moral change, where that sense of obligation changes from just now individuality, short term individualism which is the religion of the West today, to something that is more actively aware. If you look at history, you could argue that human history has been a progression of consciousness. A raising of consciousness. To me, the next logical extension of consciousness is to the network; to each other. That is a reflection of how the technology is changing us and as something like what we’re going through now shows us, it’s also just true—that we do have tremendous influence on one another.
These are all visualisations—kind of a UI—to imagine what is a very complicated process. But I think something like that is what has changed, and I think that’s how it changes again.
Mason: To a degree, all of that has led us to define value through these very simple things. In the West—or across the world in fact—it’s GDP. We use GDP as the only effective measure of value. But as you say in the book, in actual fact GDP is a very ineffective way to measure value.
Strickler: Yeah, it’s a great proxy for the things it’s meant to measure. It certainly has a wealth, has a relationship to other traits and qualities, but the notion that you aim for something that is, at best, a possibly distant proxy of what is actually important, I think is problematic. This is where you’re seeing the paradigm shift beginning to happen. With New Zealand, Iceland, Finland and Scotland all shifting to national governments oriented around human wellbeing; trying to numerically and mathematically define what that is; to define the spheres of wellbeing that states must think about; the spheres that markets will think about. To me, that is absolutely the right kind of change coming. Amsterdam is shifting towards Kate Raworth’s doughnut economics orienting its city government. All of these are states led by women who are embracing what, to me, is a more actively aware and holistic notion of value and of self. To me, it’s a progression. It’s not refuting the importance of GDP; it’s not refuting the importance of wealth. It’s yes, ending it, it’s building on top of it. History is building on top of it. History is not revolutions and ripping off the last thing and replacing it with something new. Generally, we build on top of what’s there.
The reason why I think this progression of extension of self-interest and expansion of value is because it’s still a progressive world. We are still growing, we’re just learning to grow different types of value rather than just financial value. It’s still letting us have that target to work towards, and so I think that there is a widespread feeling—really because of how exaggerated the past 20 years have been, economically—there’s a much stronger feeling that there’s a need for a shift, that the anomalies of this system that we’re in have added up for too long. So you see people willing to take a chance.
What’s exciting about this is the technological moment that we’re in. The amount of data, things we’re able to measure. The amount of ways that we interact with one another that we’re better able to see and perceive makes the embrace of new forms of value or the measurement of new kinds of interactions possible, for the first time ever. At any other point in history, how would you possibly measure things like this, or how would you define them? You would have month-long syncretic dialogue on what loyalty means. Today, loyalty is maybe something that a team spends a year trying to create the right algorithm to try and define a loyal interaction when they see one. So that is sort of where we are now, and how technology and value are going to interact. I believe what it will eventually produce is something that we may grow to call post-capitalism.Where we are creating transactions, greenlighting projects based on the growth of values on top of financial value. Projects will have to meet some financial minimum but really, they’re optimising for a community benefit or a sustainability benefit, or some pro-social benefit. This is something that we’ll be able to do intelligently and rationally. It won’t be a political choice—it’ll be something that we all see as value-creating.
Mason: What are some of those values that you think we should actually prioritise? Instead of purely money and finance, what would you like us to see prioritise?
Strickler: I mean, the ones I would think about are: Fairness—fairness is a really interesting thing to think about. To try and calculate the fairness of systems. If you try to think about the distribution of social goods from the perspective of fairness, it gets into a lot of interesting questions about deservability. I think you get into interesting reverse Dutch auctions of need with ability to pay. Fairness is one that’s important to think about.
Certainly, the sustainability of our practices. If there’s a language that we develop to know for how long we can continue doing something that we’re doing.
Purpose: a sense of purpose, a sense of consistently working towards something. To me, one of the hardest things as an individual or as a company: You can know where you want to go, but how can you consistently make choices in that direction over time? Some way of guiding you towards that end.
Awareness is something that’s interesting. The ability for us to understand how much we’re perceiving or not perceiving.
But in the book, the example that I write about that is being used today and that I think is the type of very specific application is Adele distributing concert tickets using a loyalty algorithm. Adele trying to break scalpers reselling tickets for hundreds of thousands of dollars more, and using an algorithm that would approximate how loyal a fan was to her as an artist, and to distribute tickets based on the top percentile in each market. There’s a dystopian version of this which is the Chinese social credit system, where you don’t get into a restaurant or something unless your loyalty score is so-high. There’s a utopian version of this which is that Adele created a post-capitalist transaction that solves a financial minimum and then optimises for a non-financial maximum, on top of that. In that way it’s not an altruistic choice, it’s a value-maximising choice, but just with a different framework of value that we currently think about.
I think that there are a couple of other examples that have happened recently. One was in the US: the people that provide the SATs which is a standardised test that anyone going into college takes. They had built an algorithm to try and build a hardship score where they would analyse a student’s background to change their score based on their personal hardship. To me, that was a fascinating attempt to do this. You’re seeing that kind of thing, how do we measure these social interactions that we have? I don’t know if it’ll ever get to be as clear as that Pitchfork album score—“this is a 9.1 and I should check this out” or whatever, but I think we’ll get to a notion of what is harmful and what is helpful, to different spaces of value. A bank going into a neighbourhood and replacing a local grocer can be judged as negative and viewed from a wider set of value perspectives than who can pay the most rent.
Mason: The great thing about you, Yancey, is that you’ve had first hand experiences of trying to get people to rethink what they value. The example of that is Kickstarter. In what way did the formation of Kickstarter and all of the lessons you learnt whilst building and running Kickstarter contribute to the central thesis in this book?
Strickler: Tremendously. Tremendously. The core conceit of Kickstarter from the very beginning was…it was Perry Chen, who first had the idea for Kickstarter. Perry had had the idea for crowdfunding and we started thinking about how this would work for creative projects, because that’s the world that we both came from. It was just so obvious that in the world of the early 2000s, if you were a filmmaker or a musician or a writer, you’re going to a book publisher, a record label, a film studio—a giant corporation—and you’re trying to convince them that you’re going to be a hit. That them putting money into your project will make them money. You go into a room and you’re looking to sell them on that fact, and you’re looking to contort your idea to meet their expectations. This is what you’re expected to do as an artist, if you don’t do that then you’re screwed. If you don’t do that, then you’ll have to rely on personal wealth or you go into debt, or it just takes you a really long time to do anything. So we were very struck by the notion that the whole creative industry functioned on this idea: that the only good ideas were profitable ones; were ones that were likely to be profitable. That said, they didn’t even perform that well to begin with either, they had plenty of misses.
The notion of Kickstarter was: if you provide a place where people can contribute to an idea and there is no hope of financial upside—because from the very beginning we say, “If you put money into a project you don’t get money in return. You get a copy of what’s made. You get to be a part of it. You get a social credit but you don’t get a financial credit.”—that people will still do that. In fact, a greater diversity of projects and ideas will be funded, if the reasons for funding encompass a broader swath of possible reasons other than just financial motives. A Kickstarter project is funded because the neighbourhood needs it; because it’s a cool tech and people who know technology think it’s rad; because the creator is cute; because they did good things in the past; because they’ve earned some loyalty. It’s a multitude of reasons, none of which are financial upside.
So, through that, five billion dollars, almost, has changed hands for irrational projects—from any economic perspective. 150,000 ideas. It completely changes the economic paradigm of why money should change hands. So, to me that really showed, number one: that the reasons for acting are far broader than we think, and that creating space for other reasons for action is incredibly beneficial—a lot of different things can happen. Number two: the experience I had of watching the world react to Kickstarter and watching this idea become something that people really believed in was really eye opening to me, because I kept waiting for some group of suits and a clipboard to come by and knock on our door and check that we met all the standards for changing things. I kept waiting for the people in charge to say, “Alright you’re good, here’s your green stamp.”
The fact that the platform and the idea had such an effect really scared me at first, because it made me realise that that probably meant that most things were as changeable as this had been. That most things had probably come to be in a similar way that our thing had been. I suddenly felt like the world was less stable than I had thought it was.
Mason: What you were really doing with Kickstarter is you challenged the status quo. There are so many challenges that come with challenging the status quo. I just wonder: how did people look at you back then, when you suggested this new model, and how—in the end—did you manage to convince them?
Strickler: Well creative people, artists, almost always got it. You would talk to someone who’s an artist and say, “Listen, you can go straight to your fans instead of going through a label.” Artists would be immediately like, “Yeah, totally.” Most of the first investors in Kickstarter were artists. We would pitch the idea, and some of them had done well enough that they were like, “Do you want help doing this?” People who came from the business side—their reaction would always be, “So I get a piece, right? If I put 20 grand into whatever movie, I get a piece? If it’s a Blockbuster, I get a cut?” We’d explain, “No—that wasn’t the intention.” and that just made zero sense. Artists understood it, fans understood it. I knew I’d give whatever amount of money to David Lynch to do whatever he wanted, and I’d be thrilled to do that. I’d be thrilled. But for people who didn’t come from the art world, the mindset would be more like…I mean someone once said, “Isn’t there already too much art in the world?” and so there is that kind of mindset.
Mason: I have to think of the example of Oculus Rift and what happened when they were sold to Facebook, because then that entire model was questioned. You were so successful in challenging the status quo, and then suddenly this Kickstarter funded project gets bought by a large corporation like Facebook and it feels like everybody has a little chip on their shoulder over the fact that they didn’t get a cut of the billions of dollars that sold to Facebook. What we began to see was us reverting back to those old value systems yet again. I think in the US—and correct me if I’m wrong—you had something called Regulation or Reg‑A, which was going to argue for the fact that people could put in small bits of money and get small bits of the company. Do you feel that this was the old system pushing back on Kickstarter? That you were almost there with challenging the status quo, and yet the status quo challenged you?
Strickler: Yeah, it was hard. When Oculus went up on Kickstarter, Palmer Luckey, the creator—he was literally a teenager in his garage. It was a demo, and the video was all these great gamer people being like, “I just tried this, holy shit.” It was awesome. Then he built the technology that lived up to that. The Facebook acquisition was very challenging. It was challenging to the value system, and it was hard. We would never ask anyone to bind themselves to certain terms by using Kickstarter. Even if those terms said, “You can’t revert to the old game.”—because even if you set any restrictions it’s still kind of the old game. The opportunity there would have been for Oculus and Facebook to have found a way to acknowledge that. Where maybe, you say that, “We get that legally, this existed in a different kind of way, but we know that from a social perspective and the way that people feel about Oculus—how important this community has been to Oculus—we’re going to try and do this other step.” That was there for them. Knowing the Oculus founders, I’m sure that they would have liked for that to happen, but you’re talking about Facebook; a giant publicly traded company.
It’s a clash of those value systems, and it shows which value system is more powerful. It’s the one that writes the cheques, that still ultimately has that power. But it’s changing, because…it’s a small thing, but I saw the video last week of the 17 year old kid who’s running the biggest COVID-19 website database thing, and the fact he’s refusing to put any ads up. There’s still this don’t sell out mindset that exists. Certainly a part of Kickstarter’s ethos comes from our background in the music industry, and the creative industries. The Oculus moment was tough.
There is equity crowdfunding in the US—there’s a lot more of it in the UK, and it’s been much more successful in the UK than in the US. But generally, here, the projects going out looking for money on those platforms tend to not be the most attractive kinds of investments. Community oriented projects are great, but I think the notion that this could be the great democratiser or, “You could be the angel investor in Facebook.”—which is what people were promising—I think that’s unlikely to happen. To me, more likely than just continuing to expand the application of the existing paradigm of how money should be used which is: money should be used to maximise more money—that instead the more interesting move is to justify the use of money for new reasons.
So basically, to me, I think the pivot that’s beginning to happen now—and we’re seeing it with the funding into vaccine research—is to see investing financial resources into the production or growth of non-financial values. It’s rational, and it’s something that should be done. Only using money to further create more money is a very limited notion of the use of a very useful tool. But yet, we trapped ourselves to where the only good ideas—like the world of creative projects before Kickstarter—the only good ideas are the ones that can be the S&P annualised return. There’s still that invisible litmus test. That’s why PPE material wasn’t being made fast enough; it just wasn’t quite profitable enough. You need these other value systems, you need these other orientations to drive behaviour that profit orientation isn’t going to speak to.
Mason: Do you think, in that case, it’s sometimes less about challenging our definition of value, and instead challenging our definition of success?Because in so many ways, success is very much tied to financial wealth and gaining financial resources. Do you think we should start with how we look at success in the world, before we start looking at value?
Strickler: I think those things are very tied because I think that behaviour role models do a tremendous amount to shift behaviour. I feel like I watched—it’s a minor moment—but I feel like I watched the cultural role model move from Julian Casablancas of The Strokes to Mark Zuckerberg. The height of culture is to be a creative person who doesn’t give a fuck—that’s like The Strokes. Then the height of culture becomes to be a business person who doesn’t give a fuck, but who also makes lots and lots of money. I think that these role models do a lot. They sort of draw a bulls-eye on the board.
If I look at the growth of the belief in being wealthy, I think you see a shift in those cultural values—but that is changing. In that same UCLA poll, there’s been an emerging answer of what is important, and that’s to be “a values entrepreneur.” which is their term they use for someone who is trying to ship values, whether that’s through activism, or starting a non-profit or whatever it is that they want to do. But that is something that is starting to enter the scene.
I think that success equalling ‘being rich’ is a loud message that exists in the world today. I think the more apt message is: success equals ‘secure’ and ‘self-coherent.’ Secure at living in integrity with who you are and where you are in life. It’s possible for all of us to achieve that. There’s us chasing this moving target of reaching a level of financial satisfaction which will never happen in the way that we want it to, but that’s a dead-end street. That leads nowhere. Even for the richest person in the world, they look at their money like, “All this money still needs to learn at least ten percent this year. This money doesn’t count.” It’s all about the compounding yet-to-come. I think we’ve just tied ourselves in this strange knot, but new kinds of voices are arising. There’s definitely a new rise of solidarity—the concept of solidarity on young people.
COVID plays more into those kinds of emotions and feelings. I feel like we’ve already had the peak of individualism—near-term individualism. We’re in the crumbling of that empire at the moment. We’re shifting to something more like a post-individualism, where yes—it’s incredibly important that we’re all individuals and we all have something special about us. At the same time, the fact that we’re all individuals and we all have something special about us makes that less important. So, we can celebrate our individuality and celebrate our shared traits. That’s a post-individualism. It’s not trying to put back in a box the fact that we’re all unique, it’s just saying, “Yeah, but that’s not the greatest thing. It doesn’t stop there.”
The same thing with the shift to post-capitalism: the notion of financial value being the only value, that everything must be pegged to that. If we maximise that one value set and then translate everything after the fact of work. Instead, we’re going to shift to post-capitalism where we acknowledge that the spectrum of value sets that we should be building is larger than just financial value. Financial value is absolutely critically important, but there are probably four or five others that are just as important, and that we can very easily learn to manage a society in which we think about all of those things. This is just the level of complexity, the level we’ve graduated to just to just demands this of us. Shit’s gonna get a little harder, so what? We can handle this. Every business person handles this, every person handles this in their lives, and so this is that transition moment, I believe.
Mason: You actively experimented with rethinking value by turning Kickstarter into a public benefit corporation—a PBC as it’s known in the US. What made this different from other Silicon Valley companies and what did you learn from the process of actually turning this organisation into a public benefit corporation?
Strickler: Well we’ve always been purpose driven. We always said from the beginning, “We don’t want to sell out. We don’t want to try and go public.” Kickstarter’s success is in it being meaningful to the creative community over the long term, so that was always there. As a for-profit company, the legal expectation was that we’d be maximising shareholder value. As our lawyer would remind us from time to time, the fact that we spoke so loudly about the fact that we didn’t do that put us at some theoretical risk. In fact, if Kickstarter survived to such a day that us as co-founders are no longer alive, and someone else is running the company, then the company can be however shitty that person wants it to be. There’s nothing actually limiting them from doing that. The fact the shareholders at that point in time could say at that point in time, “Hey, you must fire everybody and maximise profits right now.” To protect ourselves from that, we really needed to put ourselves in the category that truly represented who and what we are.
So this is when we learned that the public benefit corporation designation—which just happened in 2013—we learned about it just after Patagonia made this change. I was CEO and we made this shift, and our charter includes 12–15 different provisions—some of which are specific to the business. There’s one section that’s just like…let’s imagine a code of conduct for a good business. Let’s imagine Goldman Sachs could follow this. This included things like a pledge that the company would never use legal but esoteric tax avoidance strategies; that the company would never lobby for public policies that benefited the corporation but not our end users; that the company would never try to claim legal rights from its users that it didn’t need to operate its business. All of these sorts of ways that were just like: what is the fair thing to do? We know that the law is absolutely tilted in the favour of corporations. We knew that we could take advantage in all these sorts of ways. What is the way that you like to lay down that sword and say, “We’re coming to you as an honest person.” So there’s a lot of things like that.
What I didn’t know at the time was: how much will this actually change things on a practical level? What I found is that it actually had quite a material impact. These were values that we’ve cared about—the way that we thought about things. But in the past they were maybe like guardrails that you would bump into if you got a little astray. But instead, as a PBC, when they were in a charter of our legally held responsibilities, they felt more like things I was compelled to do. Things that we must do on a daily basis. It’s not just, “Don’t break this.”—it’s like, “Actually, express this. Manifest this.” So the way that we thought about our responsibilities as a company changed. We became much more activist. We’d always been more activist, we became even more so. We did things like create the Creative Independent, which is a completely non-revenue producing project that elevates the voice of creative people. We just tried to live up to this larger value set, and tried to imagine our responsibility in a bigger way. Kickstarter has seen nothing but benefit from that, nothing but benefit from that. It’s a strong signal that you’re not a Silicon Valley company to the market. For the people that are most important to Kickstarter—the creator community; the backer community—it lets those people know that we’re not trying to get rich on their backs. You know who you’re dealing with here.
My personal belief is that there’s about five thousand PBCs in America at this point, I believe. I don’t know that the PBC model itself is going to grow, but I think that the PBC mindset and expectations are going to do a reverse takeover of C‑Corps. Eventually, every company in America is going to function in this way. It’s going to happen from market pressure. It’s going to happen to try to appeal to a certain workforce, to a certain clientele and customer base. I think there’s a race to the top that’s happening there that’s going to put these non-financial responsibilities and values more and more into the hands of corporations, in a way that is going to be what people have been agitating for. Helping us to take more responsibility, on the one hand. On the other hand, it might end up resulting in companies having even more power. The bailouts, the stimuluses that have been happening here in the US…jobs are being destroyed by the millions whilst stocks are going up by the billions, and it’s because the changes that are happening are simply reinforcing that same power structure. Companies are getting stronger and stronger and stronger. That’s the macro game of this era, the Trump era. Companies are getting stronger. The state and other institutions are getting weaker—that’s why the stock market goes up. Companies are going to be taking on more and more of that responsibility. It’s gonna get weird.
We might get to Proctor and Gamble sponsoring housewives around the world and paying them a UPI to be ambassadors. I can imagine a world where companies are providing UBIs to their most loyal customers as a way to create brand power. I think the level of weirdness that we’re going to head to—in terms of who steps up, especially when states fail to step up on these new frontier values—is really going to reorient how we think about responsibility. I think it’s gonna get strange.
Mason: Do you really think that UBI—Universal Basic Income—is a solution? Or again, does that just feel like another byproduct of financial maximisation? Would it be better to talk about things like Universal Basic Services?
Strickler: My instinct has been to think that the notion of UBI is very much a solution of this financial maximisation age, where the answer to a problem is to give away money. It’s like the whole world is honey, the answer is honey, right? There’s a little bit of it that’s a reflection of this time. I think of it as like: Can we guarantee everyone the bottom two rungs of Maslow’s hierarchy? I think most European societies tend to do that. You provide for physical safety through laws and policing—that’s in every society. You also provide healthcare, so you provide that kind of physical safety. I think to me, it’s more about how we can answer people’s ‘now me’ needs, in a way that people can lift their sights higher? Where people can think more about their purpose in life; can think more about their obligations to eachother; can think more about the world their children are going to step into. I do think that’s hard if those bottom rungs of Maslow’s hierarchy are empty. It’s hard to move forward beyond that. I understand UBI as: how do we guarantee that kind of security to everybody? I get the simplicity that my instinct is that the answer is more like services than cash. But, I root for everyone. I root for a solution.
Mason: The funny thing is, in the book you actually look at models for individuals; how individuals can change their value set. Oddly enough, the way in which you can change your value set is tied to Japanese lunch. It’s called bentoism. Could you explain what bentoism is and how that changes our relationship with things like the future me and the now me?
Strickler: I was pulling on this thread of our self interest being too limited. We think of our self interest as this game theory “now me”—that’s all that really matters. One thing in my notebook I was doodling—I drew a hockey stick graph. A chart of a line going up into the right. Wherever your self interest is, it’s growing so fast, the line goes up into the right. I was looking at this and had this thought: don’t both these axes on this graph keep going? The X‑axis measuring time; it extends far out from now into the future. The Y‑axis measuring your self interest—money, power, fame, whatever—it also keeps growing. I thought as our self interest grows, it grows in its dimensionality from me to us. The more self interest you have, the more responsibility you have. The difference between being single and having a family is huge, or being a worker, or being an entrepreneur—it’s huge.
Suddenly, this little hockey stick graph is now in this much bigger space. I drew boxes around it and created a very simple two-by-two chart. I thought: this is actually a more true map of self interest. In that space where there is the hockey stick graph—that space is ‘now me’—what I want and need right now. That is how we think of self interest today. But in the bottom right corner of this two by two, is ‘future me’. The older, wiser version of myself. The Obi-Wan Kenobi version of me that looks back through time and tells me what matters; helps me make the right choice. In the top left, there’s ‘now us’. My family, my friends, whatever my responsibilities are—those people. In the top right corner, that is ‘future us’. My kids or everybody else’s kids.
I thought, as I looked at this: Wow. Every choice I make leaves a footprint in each of these spaces. Now me; future me; now us; future us. But I’m blind to everything but ‘now me’. I know that the future matters, I know that other people in my life matter, but I have a really hard time conceptually holding onto those things. Here seemed to be an expression of what was actually going on in my head. After I drew this chart, I wrote: What is this a graph of? And I wrote a description: Beyond near-term orientation. I thought this a graph to help me see beyond near-term orientation, and then I suddenly looked at that and realised it was an acronym for bento. I thought about the Japanese bento box. The bento box has four compartments and a lid and it derives from a word meaning “convenience.” The beauty of the bento is that, because of its compartments, it lets you hold a variety of dishes—not too much of any one thing. It’s always a balanced meal. The bento also honours a Japanese dieting philosophy called Hara Hachi Bu, which says, “The goal of a meal is to be 80 percent full. That way, you’re still hungry for tomorrow.” So I thought: what I’ve drawn here is a bento for my choices, and my self interest. It’s a way for me to not just gorge myself on ‘now me’, but for a way for me to keep in mind the now us of my family, my responsibilities to other people; my ‘future me’—who I really want to become in life, my ultimate potential; and then ‘future us’—what’s the world that’s going to be left after I’m gone?
This has become a way that I make choices. It’s a way that I identify my priorities. It’s a way that I teach workshops to help people find their values. But it’s simply a way to expand our awareness beyond just this now me space, and to allow us to see the full impact of choices. The need for this is so acute, because when we only see ‘now me’, the decisions that maybe sacrifice the near-term for a longer term benefit look like bad options. Or, choices that are good for us now but bad for us in the long term look like good options. When we don’t see the whole picture, we tell ourselves we’re making good choices but really we’re committing acts of self-harm.
I think that this expansional perspective—whether the bento language is what ultimately sticks or not—I believe this expansional perspective is what’s happening right now with COVID-19 for sure. The future, the us, the collective spaces are much more clear. I think that this is a kind of map for how we might imagine post-capitalist values working. For how we might imagine our shared responsibilities working, and how we might imagine new spaces of opportunity working. For example, I think there could be companies that serve the ‘future us’ space. There could be a certain type of entrepreneur who works on ‘future me’ or ‘now us’ kinds of problems. I believe this is a map of whole new frontiers of ways to provide value to each other and a way to work towards this larger goal of not just maximising ‘now me’ financial value, but to pursue coherence; to pursue choices that are really in line with all these spaces, showing that greater awareness.
Mason: It’s one thing to aspire towards having a better relationship with your future self, but it’s really hard to do that, isn’t it? It’s really hard to act in a way to make that happen. How do we keep ourselves accountable to our future selves?
Strickler: I use what are basically like method acting techniques, where I will try to step into those roles. Even the choice I made to write this book—I used something like that. I used a process to come up with five different possible career paths as a next step and then spent a day pretending I was each one of those things. I allowed that day of pretending I was a teacher; pretending I was a journalist; pretending I was making some video project. I allowed that experience to tell me what was right or wrong for me.
For me, stepping into my ‘future me’ space is something I do on a weekly basis. I have a weekly practice where I basically journal and try to step into these spaces, picture my ‘now us’, picture my ‘future us’, picture my ‘future me’—where I really do picture Obi-Wan. I really do picture the hologram Obi-Wan. I just try to be quiet and almost meditate with those spaces. I’ll say, “Tell me what’s important.” With my ‘now us’, I’ll reflect, “Now us, what do you think matters?” and my ‘now us’ will say, “Hey, you and your wife haven’t had a date in a week. Plan something. Call these friends. Think of this way that you can be more giving.” These are things that my ‘System 1’ thinking brain—my passive, reactive brain—isn’t thinking about. That part of my mind is just thinking: self promote; go get what’s mine—selfish shit. Very, very selfish stuff. I just get used to engaging with these things, and now these voices are more natural to me. I will default to selfish, ‘now me’ thinking. I don’t want to. I aspire to more than that. I don’t always do that—but there are moments when it’s hard to not always do that.
To me, something like the bento framework is like a mental scaffolding. It’s like a tool of love that’s just saying, “Hey, here’s the stuff that’s hard to keep in mind, but it’s extremely important, and here’s just a way to force you to do that—here’s a muscle memory. Also, here is possibly a map towards greater meaning, greater coherence in your life, greater opportunity. Here’s what to look for beyond the ‘now me’ of survival.” It’s simply making you aware of what you actually think. That’s meaningful, because when you know what you actually think, then you can act accordingly to what you actually believe, and your choices likely change.
Mason: Yancey, it would be irresponsible of me not to mention the elephant in the room, which is the current crisis. I just wonder how COVID-19 is changing our ways in which we’re acting. Are you seeing more people acting for ‘now me’, or are you hopeful that we’re going to start acting for things like ‘future us’?
Strickler: This is a total ‘now us—future us’ space. Normally when I do my bento, I start with ‘now me’, because that’s the thing that’s the most obvious to me. But that week, when I looked at ‘now me’, I had no idea. What did I want? I had no clue. But when I saw ‘now us’, I instantly knew. I have a four year old. I’m a homeschool teacher for half a day now. I knew absolutely what my responsibilities are, and now my entire orientation has totally shifted. I’m very us oriented now. I’m only as safe as my neighbour, and my neighbour’s neighbour. Suddenly I see the world very differently.
I think that’s likely to stay for a while. There is the weird thing of hyper-isolation that balances that out. But I feel like the fact that we exist beyond ‘now me’- that the future is real and coming—we could see that as we see we were ten days behind Italy, when the crisis was first happening. But we can also see that collective space. Especially here in the US, where we provide very few collective services, the lack of healthcare is going to be more and more of an issue.
The best thing that’s happening out of that—I mean, I think the global pause is fantastic in many ways—but I’m excited by the internet, the network, really stepping into its own even more. There’s a kind of collective consciousness that has been becoming gradually digitised but is now becoming much more alive, to where so many minds are collaborating on the same problem set. We’re using this tool to bring ourselves together. The benefits we’ll see as a result of that are just going to be enormous. Enormous.
It’s largely my theory that the post-internet innovation won’t be like AR or AI, or whatever—another technological revolution. I think the revolution after the internet is consciousness—human consciousness—is the networked organism of all of us. I don’t mean that in a singularity kind of way, but just that we’re all neurons responding collectively to this crisis. With COVID-19, some parts of our body felt it first and tried to warn the rest of the body. The collective consciousness spits out flatten the curve as the paradigm to help us understand what needs to happen, and then that rapidly gets dispersed throughout the entire brain. All that, to me, is just outrageous—it’s kind of outrageous. I feel a sense of awe in that, and believe in its power. I can imagine a universe where Donald Trump is not the president of the United States, where this is like the scientific Olympics of the entire world coming together. This amazing moment of cohesion. That moment, a hundred percent, could be here. That’s what’s supposed to happen. That’s what’s supposed to happen.
Mason: Following that macro idea a little further, do you think COVID-19 might actually expedite some of the changes that you’re advocating for in the book? You put a 30 year time horizon on most of the changes you expect to see in the book, but do you think in fact COVID-19 could speed that up? Or do you think it’s actually going to slow that down? Do you think that a 30 year horizon is now going to turn into a 50 year horizon?
Strickler: I believe in a 30 year theory of change. That’s like a generational theory of change. Kind of at the heart of why generational changes happen is death. I think that people change their minds and then die, and people grow up in a new reality with a new set of cultural norms. We can imagine the median line of opinion changing as certain people die and certain people are born. In waves of mass death will accelerate change and opinion in a very brutal kind of way. I don’t expect there to be an immediate bounceback towards virtuousness. I mean, maybe in some of these wellbeing societies, maybe that happens. But I would expect things to get darker in the near term. I believe we’re going to discover that there are other value sets that can orient our machines, and that we’re going to need those.
The other significant transformation that’s happening now will be from human labour to computer labour—to AI and things like that. The challenge for a human organisation is not knowing where you want to go—it’s getting a bunch of human beings to get there together, and to battle in the daily distractions. For an AI system, there will be none of those human distractions. Whatever metric or target that we set, theoretically we’ll be able to get there in some way or another. The question is: What are those metrics that we’re setting? What are those targets? How are they being informed? How are we thinking about the light and the shadow for each of those things? For me, the importance of metrics and the importance of defining the values that we want to be optimising for—will become more and more important. They’ll be meaningfully running our institutions and our systems. If we allow those systems to operate according to the value sets that we run today, then we’re going to have systems that optimise for money, power and attention. That’s going to be the big three. There’s not going to be anything else that’s gonna have room for that. So I look at that as the leverage point. I love the Donella Meadows essay on points of leverage in a system. The values layer is what other things are built upon.
I think all of those things will get put more on the table in a post-COVID world. That this is a climate change fast forward—the fact that this is teaching us that it’s possible to pause the world and totally change things. Yes, the world ends in some ways—but also the world is kind of better in other ways. It’s a great dry run and a great reminder of the tenuousness of what’s here. I say all that while fearing it and not taking it lightly by any stretch. All this may be adding up to, “Ah, I feel, at the ability of this thing—this tiny thing—to so greatly affect us.”
Mason: We have a question on Youtube from Ian Forrester who’s asked, “Yancey, what’s your dream post-capitalism for humankind?”
Strickler: I keep coming to this idea of coherence, but I feel like the challenge of the modern world is that we end up compromising a lot to provide financial stability for ourselves. Systems, on a macro level, create a lot of instability and a lot of corruption to try to maximise for their own financial self interest. The world I imagine is one where we simply see financial value as a tool that’s used in exchange for other values. The idea that the richest person on the street is the happiest person on the street—that’s a move that we abandon. We imagine that the most well off person is the one that’s the most balanced; the one who has their head on their shoulders; the one who maybe has the middle class job, and they don’t have to work so much so they get to spend time with their family. I think there’s a different notion of what it means to be a successful human being—that that happens. I would love to see—in the same way we’re seeing humanity’s talents coming together around health—I would love to see our talents coming together around solving other problems. Like loneliness; like how we feel socially connected. Like what it means to be a human being through the internet. Like the fairness of systems. I think the most important metrics and measurements for shaping the future haven’t yet been invented. That’s the process of the next 10 or 20 years.
Mason: What happens to those who feel trapped by their material circumstances? It’s all very well and good to talk about, “Let’s move towards a post-financial future and change and have new value sets.”—but what about people who are living pay-cheque to pay-cheque, whereby all they’re thinking about is their ability to survive financially? How realistically do they live with this new value set?
Strickler: If your ‘now me’ is hard—yes—it’s more difficult to operate in these other spaces. But, I think that if you look at religious rates, and how they relate to income level—generally, the less money you have, the more religious you tend to be. I would say that someone whose ‘now me’ is harder, is in a more challenging space. You have to lean on the ‘now us’ of your community—the community of your church, your family. You also have to think about the ‘future me’ of salvation and the afterlife, to give your life purpose and meaning. If your day to day is hard, what is the purpose of that day to day? Well, there is this larger goal of trying to live a worthy life.
I think for someone who is extremely wealthy, the challenges of materialism are ones of materialistic abundance that can cause you to lose sight of your obligations to other people; that can cause loneliness; that can create a separateness from society. I think too much or too little can ironically have a similar kind of outcome. I would say that maybe the wealthier person has more time—maybe that’s the one thing that can be said. If you look at religious doctrine—if you look at the Bible—Jesus would say that, “It’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven.” The notion that wealth is something that blocks you from that liberation; blocks you from your greatest potential. We’re in a world today where that incentive layer of money rules the show, so we think that having money is nirvana. We automatically assume that people have that, have what they need—and that people who don’t have that, don’t have what they need. I would argue that really, that’s one of probably five or six things that you need. Yes, it can balance other things out, but I don’t think that’s the answer on it’s own. I think the ability to self actualise, the ability to be more coherent might have an inverse relationship to wealth. Monks are impoverished for a reason. I think that we’re maybe a little bit trapped in the orthodoxy of today, in assuming who this may be valuable for.
Mason: Another question that follows on from the orthodoxy of today is from James Pockson on Youtube, who asks, “In what way do you feel that cultures are built on historical precedent?”—the core of his question is, “Do you see any preferable value systems from our past that perhaps we should re-embrace, that allows you to achieve some of the things that you were talking about—either from the past or from other cultures?”
Strickler: Yeah, totally. I love that question because I think that we are kind of running on a 17th to 18th century playbook of values and utilitarianism. It’s amazing how deeply that stuff runs. When I was doing a lot of research, the movement that became really fascinating to me was called communitarianism, and this first was around when the United States was first beginning. It’s been a couple of years since I read all of this, but communitarianism is really based on values pluralism, in that you could have a society where education would be run by educational values, and health run by health values—everything would be run according to its native script. Orienting a society around that wouldn’t be utopia, but would create the best potential of outcomes.
People ended up experimenting with this, and most importantly, one of the great thinkers in game theory, John Nash—who created the prisoner’s dilemma—he ended up moving to a communitarian community in the 1970s. This is how I ended up finding out about this movement. There is a book I read called Spheres of Justice which had a tremendous effect on me, which argues that the form of all injustice in the world is when a values system rules beyond its rightful domain. The most classic example is Galileo being asked to refute the laws of science, because the values of the church were more powerful at the time. That’s a form of injustice, and really, all injustice in the world is rooted in this kind of idea. That book was written by Michael Walzer. The notion of trying to find the right lens of value—trying to find that match between: What is this situation? What is the value at stake? And then acting—rather than always assuming there’s a singular value at stake. That’s kind of the philosophical underpinning of my whole line of thinking. So then originally from this notion of values pluralism—that values are expressive, they are rational in the eye of their beholder—and that a society could actually flourish if you allowed everyone to act according to their value system. We may imagine that as some sort of discorded values orgy, but in reality it’s probably more like a rainforest. It’s probably more like an ecosystem that would emerge if we just allowed people to live truly to their value systems.
Mason: We have another question from Youtube—this time from Kate Hammer. She’s asking, “What do you think matters most, that also evades measurement?” So it’s great to talk about these new value systems, but if we can’t measure that, how do we even identify it as a value?
Strickler: The way I come at metrics and measurement being so important is not that I want that to happen. The idea that measuring things removes the love and magic from them—I emotionally buy into that. But if I think about automated systems and the kinds of information that they require to operate, then I think that the idea we shouldn’t be in the metric game because we think it’s not indie enough—that’s hard for me to stomach because the influence of these things is gonna be so strong. But what we’re going to have to do is to find signals that approximate these different kinds of metrics. We can look at examples of how industries as a result of new metrics being added. If you think about food—where say calories are being forced to be displayed—we’ve put ourselves into this interesting dual decision making process, of price and calories together. I think we don’t quite know the language of how to do that. But here we see the shift from a monolithic value system to now something more like a values pluralistic system. You can even see it in sports where, say, data analysis has been used to completely re-engineer how teams play, because they’ve shown their previous strategies produce less desirable outcomes than different kinds of strategies.
If I imagine how these new kinds of values might be accepted, it’s not from every single CEO getting woke in the same way. It’s from these values being rationally expressed. It’s from these being demonstrated as producing better outcomes that we all agree upon. That’s the world where you get someone who disagrees with this politically to actually take this up and apply this in their business. If we’re just trying to speak on this cultural value woke space, you’re only gonna talk to the choir. The importance of this, the meaning of this and the goal of this should be that this is not the new indie hit that lets people feel superior to another group of people. This is the fucking mainstream, this is the game. This is what success is, this is obvious. How do you work to that reality? To me, that’s where you get to a global scale of change, and it seems to me that anything less than that is like, “What are we even doing here?”
Mason: I want to ask you another question about our current state and the pandemic that we’re dealing with. A lot of people will look to you and look to Kickstarter as freelancers and as creatives. What is your advice, Yancey, for those sorts of individuals during this very difficult time?
Strickler: Cut costs. Cut costs. You’ve got to live as light as you can. I have my own versions of these things, where I had a compartmentalisation of having a child, of having a work self, of having all of these other selves. Now they’re just piled on top of each other—it’s just cacophony. Trying to pull out my now me and my ‘future me’, the part of me that’s creative, that’s working on projects—getting that person to focus has been difficult. To do that, I end up doing an exercise to step into my ‘future me’ self, where I imagined a year and a half from now, the last of the lockdowns is over and the vaccine is done. Let’s imagine you feel especially proud of yourself during that time. Well then, what did you do? What are those three things that you did? When I went through that process, in addition to my family obligations, I focused on completing a single long term project. The idea that I would just be grinding on something bit by bit each day. That, I thought, would be the right kind of creative output for me. Knowing that means I have to change the cost structure of my life. I have to have this thought of: What if income is not anything like what I expect it to be for the next year? Then to give myself meaning, to let myself still feel motivated—I’ve tried to set this target of a project that I’m completing bit by bit along the way. People are going to launch Kickstarter’s patreons and things like that, to make up the economic gaps that they face. Some of those will do well—I think some will be harder because not a lot of people feel secure right now. It’s really, really tough.
Mason: I guess my final question is: How do we become active advocates for this new way of thinking about value? What must we do, as individuals, to force a change to the political economy?
Strickler I think it does start with individuals becoming more aware. Developing that active awareness. Having that language of dimensionality of self interest. Not viewing the economic choice as always being the right choice. Being able to voice that in a meeting—being able to gradually shift the culture of your company in that kind of way. I believe there is a groundswell, and a direction that is definitely against the excesses of capital. There is an anti-groundswell that’s happening, that I think will only grow. The fuse has been lit, and what we’re going through right now is just going to exacerbate it. But the question is: what do we step into? If not what we have now, then what? How can we have a vision that’s not destructive? To me, the constructive vision is where we’re owning the spaces where we have impact. We’re owning our future impact. We’re trying to be very conscious of how we affect one another, and we’re doing that in our personal lives. We’re doing that in our organisations. If this kind of language comes to be accepted; if the future comes to be seen as rational; if the collective and the ‘us’ comes to be seen as just as real as the ‘me’, then I think the kinds of choices and the values that we’ll prioritise are just going to change from now. I think for now it’s just becoming comfortable with these real spaces that exist.
I think 30 years from now, everything I’m saying now is going to be so basic and boring it’s going to seem absurd that anyone had to explain it. I firmly believe that’s going to happen. It just comes from being comfortable. I can say for myself—having done this for two years now—it’s having a meaningful impact on how I think about myself and my space in the world. I realise that because of macro challenges that we’re talking about, all of this sounds very, very small, and it may be, in the larger scheme. But this is how things begin, and grow. I saw it with Kickstarter—you look at anything through history. This is how things happen. There isn’t this spontaneous combustion where there’s this big bang of wokeness, and everyone just wakes up and believes the opposite of what they believed the day before. We need a credible path that owns what’s good about the present, that yes, and?‘s it, builds on top of it, and that isn’t just preaching to the choir. To me, that future looks something like this.
Mason: So on that note, I want to thank you, Yancey, for joining us for one of our first Futures Podcast live stream events.
Strickler: Thank you so much.
Mason: Thank you to Yancey for sharing his thoughts on how to create a more generous world.
You can find out more by purchasing Yancey’s new book, This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World—available now.
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