KashKlash is a space to share thoughts on, and to shape, the future; a playground for visionary people like you, who, in a sense, are already living a few years ahead. Let’s start from the basic consideration that people have always shared and exchanged things. Sure, it comes to us naturally. But today’s digital communication systems are changing and expanding this age-old behaviour: not only are there new things to share — pictures, music, ratings, writings, videos, data and information — but there are now also many more platforms and opportunities for sharing and exchanging to take place.

Can we consider such exchanges to be ‘economical’? Sure we can, as in the original Greek meaning of “one who manages a household”: although these exchanges often don’t involve money, they are rapidly growing in importance. Yet, our current capitalist economy is based on the assumption that everything has a monetary value, and ought to be traded according to that value. What is challenging our imagination is that the uptake of digital technology is starting to undermine this assumption.

Consider a person uploading a picture on Flickr, with an open license. She is making a ‘gift’ to the Flickr community in the sense that she does not expect to have any financial compensation in return, but she does get other things instead: e.g. the feeling of belonging to a community of peers, a great potential visibility for her picture, the recognition of the beauty of it, the happiness of having her friends and relatives virtually gathered around that picture, and so on. The exchange has become non-financial and is definitely shaping a different, or if you want, alternative, ecosystem. An alternative to the mainstream.

Of course we know that alternative economies are nothing new: Local communities worldwide have always practised sharing and trading things (both material and immaterial, like time) without the support of money. Even now in 2008 this local practice is still very widely diffused, yet it sits at the margin of the dominant economic model and has a reputation of being naïve. What is new, with respect to a few years ago, is the increased interaction between digital/global and physical/local sharing through digital, especially mobile, communication tools.

Personal/Shared Values vs. Monetary Value

The current world of physical currency offers a degree of anonymity that allows individuals and groups to disassociate what they produce with what they consume. What have we lost in blurring the association between the two? Does the web, rich with connections and openness, offer an opportunity to reclaim this lost territory? What are the implications of this? Can both forms co-exist? In the merging physical/digital world, will other types of compensation - time, skills, services, a sense of belonging, visibility, public recognition, identity and so on - be increasingly important?

What might replace money as it exists now? What could be sharable and what cannot? What impact could this have on people and communities? How could a post-money economy best be organised, especially given the failures of the current economic model? How do communities of sharing shape and maintain themselves? How do they build their values? Do they have explicit or implicit values? What are the differences between global/online and local/physical communities of sharing? To what extent can digital/mobile communication tools help people in both online and physical communities manage their sharing and exchanging practices? What would the rules, rituals and habits of this future world be?

To address these questions, we created KashKlash, a forum to debate, imagine and co-create this future.
It is worth noting here that the focus of this understanding is on a possible future ecosystem, rather than on the technological tools underpinning it. We want the technology to adapt to the landscape we are trying to sketch out, not to be pulled in a certain direction by technology.

We want you to feel free to express your view, even if you feel that it is loosely related to the subject of the discussion: this platform is a simply a playground for ideas coming from people who are in love with the future and we are looking forward to seeing the amazing jigsaw puzzle of insights that results!
Please experiment with your thoughts and transfer them to us through words, images, sounds, videos, whatever medium you prefer.
We know how powerful ideas can be when a suitable space is created for a diverse community of people to express them.

KashKlash is a public domain project, set up by Heather Moore of Vodafone’s User Experience group, where all the content is public and open for all to use, allowing everyone to gain from everyone else’s contributions.
Such an open and spirited climate should not be hampered by Vodafone’s involvement, and it should be clear to everybody that opinions presented within this project are not somehow attached/attachable to Vodafone but are opinions from individuals, belonging to them and to the public domain.