Fear is an incredibly powerful emotional state. It can paralyse us or it can fill us with a high-intensity urge to fight our way out of trouble. The paralysis option usually manifests itself directly from a sense of powerlessness – and we don’t have to look far to see endless examples of this in our everyday lives.
We individually feel powerless in the face of financial pressures; rising prices; and economic uncertainty. We feel ‘frozen out’ of the big conversations and their resultant decisions. Essentially we don’t get to have a say in how things play out.
Individually we can all feel powerless – but when we consider that powerlessness is the one thing we have in common, then it becomes a shared strength. We can’t afford to run for president but we could (if we were American) fund somebody in our image who can; we can’t afford to buy a football team but we can – as fans with a mutual passion – buy our own club as was done in Barcelona.
And there is already substantial evidence available that proves the willingness of those who are worse off to act in the interests of the many. In terms of trying to quantify the impact of the ‘poor’s pound’, we only have to look across the Atlantic Ocean to see evidence of what is possible.
In its highly-regarded analysis of the fall-out from the Great Recession, the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that the richest Americans (earning at least $200k per annum) gave 5% less to charity than they did in 2006.
In sharp contrast to their richer fellow citizens, low- and middle-income Americans (earning less than $100,000) donated 5% more than in 2006. And perhaps more intriguing of all, the poorest Americans (earning $25,000 or less) increased their charitable donations by almost 17%.
To momentarily abandon our athiestic viewpoint, in biblical terms alone this means the poor not only stand a better chance of entering the proverbial kingdom of heaven – they are more likely to fund it happening in the here and now. They are pre-disposed to acting in the interests of each other, their urge to share is driven by a combination of sympathy and empathy – in other words they are far more likely to experience the extremes of poverty than their richer counterparts and are therefore far more likely to help.
This is why Crowdfunding has such popular appeal – it gives power to the powerlessness, it makes what is individually unachieveable, collectively achieveable – whether it be ownership or control, and is quite probably the most democratic tool there is.
And if our atheistic outlook is proven to be incorrect and it transpires that there really is a God, then it might well have been crowdfunding that his son had in mind when he predicted that the meek shall inherit the earth.