Commons and social security does that go together?

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200 years ago we came up with the modern definition of social security in the Netherlands: 'the certainty that everyone can make a meaningful contribution to society and that everyone can develop themselves'. Since then this concept has been put into the Constitution and our solidarity vision of living together has been built on this. But history has not stood still since Thorbecke's time. Our world is changing and the SVB is changing with it. New ways of working together and living together, new ideas about economy and democracy and a revaluation of the collective inspire us to ask the question: how can the government learn from this new solidarity?

Reliability, what's next?

Based on figures from Statistics Netherlands and the Final Report from the Regulation of Work Committee (Borstlap Committee), we see three trends that will influence our work in the coming years:

  • Demography: Families are getting smaller, there are relatively more elderly people and people are getting older, the countryside is running empty and the cities are full
  • Work: Labor pays less and less, workers are increasingly flex (so without certainty) and workplaces disappear / change due to automation
  • Health: More and more people are lonely, depressed and / or overstrained

In all three trends you can see that we are dealing with new challenges that we did not have seventy years ago. To what extent are we as a society equipped for these changes? What do these major changes mean for social security and social security? What solutions do we see around us?

The 'commons': 21st century reciprocity

Major changes require an open view; perhaps other paradigms can mean something to society. Can the ideas of the commons inspire new solutions to these contemporary challenges in the field of livelihoods?

We talk about commons when we describe a system in which a defined community manages a shared resource according to clear rules. Wikipedia is an example of such a system. We call the people in such a system 'commoners' and their daily practice we call 'commoning'. The farmers who have united in the 'Gentlemen farmers' movement are real commoners. And the neighbors who are sitting together in an energy co-op to generate solar energy are commoning. This new, practical reciprocity thus influences people's daily reality, but it also holds the promise of bringing about a broader change in our thinking.

Joint investigation

Together with the Commons Network Foundation, we are investigating what we can learn from the commons about social security. Do the commons perhaps offer us a new insight into the future of Dutch solidarity society and a new design of a future-proof social contract? And what role does the government play in this? In the coming year we will conduct research together and work towards a publication and a meeting on these issues. Are you interested in this project, based on your expertise or daily practice? Then we cordially invite you to think along and participate. Sign up here for the newsletter, in which we will keep you informed of our search:

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