Hedging the future by funding alternatives with some of our dollars

Peter Hoddie wrote a long piece in response to my recent Indie IoT post. I’ll have more to say, for now I just want to pick up one fascinating thought that Peter writes about (and attributes to Cory Doctorow):

He encouraged us to “hedge,” not to completely stop purchasing products that disrespect our rights, but to put some fraction of the money we spend on such products and services into efforts that work to change that.

This idea is even more broadly applicable than just on tech products: there’s so much in the world now that is going in the wrong direction: climate change, soil degradation, more autocracy and so forth and so forth. We can’t fight them all. We can’t just stop driving cars or riding buses or airplanes. We can’t just buy products that don’t screw us: there are no alternatives in a number of categories. We can’t — well, most of us can’t — afford just eating grass-feed beef and locally produced kale. So often fatigue and desperation sets in.

The idea of a budget to spend on “the right things” can break through this: how big the budget is depends on our own personal circumstances: the amount of discretionary money we have, the amount of time we have control over, etc. So this budget could be anywhere between 0 and (well, not quite yet) 100%. Pick a number, any number.

And then let’s spend that percentage of our resources on “the right” version of what we buy. It will likely deliver less bang for the buck; have fewer features; be uglier pr buggier. But if we consciously choose that budget level, it will be within our tolerance levels, and at the same time, we funnel money into the creators of products and services that reflect our values.

Win-win, I would say. I never thought about this before I read Peter’s post. But I’ll try to practice this, it seems like a great idea!