A Revolution in Kindness

A Revolution in Kindness is the name of a book authored by the late Anita Roddick.  In one of her blogs posts on the topic of kindness she talked about examples that could “help us reimagine kindness as something more than a random act.”  I always liked the way she got to the human nitty gritty of the issues she cared about, in fact she asked us all to “Take it Personally’.   She was an inspiring figure and I have been thinking about kindness and information.

I’ll start out be stating that information is the ‘currency’ of life.

In my economics education I was taught this basic concept: the more scarce a resource, the higher its prices.  In an information age this can be applied as, the more limited the information, the higher the price on that information.  These are kind of unhuman speak.  To attempt to make them more human I have observed this sort of scenario time and time again:

The higher the price the more desperate a human is. E.g. you need to make a last minute booking for a train, bus or for a flight.  A natural disaster strikes or war disruption in a city, prices trend higher.  This has always puzzled me, as the spare capacity e.g on a bus on the day of travel, is lost opportunity, lost sales, lost cashflow.  Infact the whole system rewards the opposite, you know with certainly a long time inadvance your travel plans then, the lower the price you will be offered.  The reward for giving the business a more certain future, a lower price is offered.

What if kindness was the core motivator and persistent in the ‘system’?  Would information flow freer?  I think it would, the system will reward those collaborating and the best way to do that is to be open and share information.  Would this squew to an outcome where those most last minute will benefited the most?  No, this does not have to be the case, those collaborating for longer will have better relationships and have the resources personalized to their exact needs.  Those last minute will be limited in their ability to achieve that.  However, both parties can benefit and I think the best way to explain this is by rewriting how we apply pricing.  Generally, a price is fixed at the time of purchase not at the time of use (less purchase is made in real time ie at last minute).  This does not have to be the case.  A price could be issued for a future time period and lets say when the e.g. time of travel came, a last minute traveler joined the journey of that planned in advance.  The last minute traveler is benefiting from the committed travelers pull of attention towards the journey and a committed traveler can reduce their cost of travel by the arrival of the last minute passenger.  Pricing can be dynamic, and I would think about that not so much in terms of time but of attention (they are different).

In other words a Law of Information would read:

The greater an individuals needs in society, the more the world will transpire to help.  In short kindness.

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