Welcome to the Launch post! Thanks for visiting.
The concept of The Gini App is simple: use information technology to provide more transparency and better information in the marketplace for consumers.
Economic inequality is a problem. Richard Wilkinson points out that highly developed economic societies with smaller gaps between rich and poor have better health, fewer social problems such as violence, drug abuse, teenage births, mental illness, and obesity. Also, economic inequality has an impact on social mobility. In more unequal countries like Great Britain and the United States it matters more who your father is that in the Scandinavian countries. If you step back from any political affiliations you have and just think about it, the assertion makes sense. He also jokes, if you want to live the “American Dream”, you better move to Denmark.
Currently I manage a corporate restaurant and see the reality each day. Since the store is new the majority of the employees started out at minimum wage, $7.25/hour. The total wages of the employees (including three salaried managers) at the store is only about 20% of net profits, and the store is sending the corporate office around 30% in net profits. Many of the employees are on some sort of government assistance. Some are trying to invest in themselves by continuing their education. Almost all find it difficult to pay their bills and survive on such a meager wage. One of my employees has ovarian cancer. She doesn’t have health care coverage, and can’t work as much because of her condition.
I believe there is a connection between employee pay and the connection that the employer has to his employees. I have experienced this discrepancy first hand. When I was in college I worked as a crew member for a franchise restaurant location. Now I manage a corporate location of the same restaurant brand. Both stores, the franchise and corporate location, have similar sales numbers; however, I was paid more as a crew member for the franchisee than I started out making as a manager for the corporate location. That is unacceptable, and I think many consumers would agree if they knew the facts.
There are two potential movements to solve the problem of income inequality in the country. We can take a top down approach where we demand the government tax individuals who make huge fortunes. I don’t think this is a very attractive or efficient option. On the other hand, we could take a bottom up approach by allowing individuals to decide with their purchasing dollars.
How do we do it?
Last year I was sitting in on a pitch session with Wed3, an angel investment group in Charlotte, NC. During one of the pitches, a potential investor made a comment.
He said, “Have you ever heard of the Golden Rule?”
The pitch maker was hesitant and nodded, not knowing if they were on the same page.
The investor expanded, “You know the golden rule, He who has the gold makes the rules.”
This brought some laughter to the room, but I’m sure that much of that laughter had a measure of discomfort about it. There were probably about 10 different people in the room looking for funding. They knew that their chances of acquiring funding were already small, but if they did get funding, they would be required to submit themselves to the rules and whims of their investors.
The Gini App flips the idea of the “Golden Rule” around. Much like entrepreneurs looking for funding, businesses are competing for consumers to spend dollars on their goods and services. With that mindset in place, consumers with better information can start demanding that businesses who want their business play by the rules of the consumer. Using the information that The Gini App provides, consumers could start taking their purchasing dollars to businesses who take care of their employees and have a more equitable business model.
The purpose of this blog is to attract, inform, and mobilize individuals who share this vision of where we are, and where we could go.
I will need capital to develop a minimum viable product. As soon as The Gini App has interest from 1,000 people, I will launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise the necessary capital.
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Stay tuned for updates and posts explaining the concept!