How ARCC can be applied in pandemic to improve the lives of millions of urban poor – Elemental

Posted: April 12, 2020 at 8:45 pm


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The speed at which Covid-19 has spread across the world has sent shockwaves through financial markets sending investors scrambling to liquidate their investments for cash. Even traditional safe haven assets, such as gold, have fallen into negative territory in the past couple of weeks as investors liquidate whatever they can to cover margin calls. But nowhere will the economic impact of Covid-19 be more keenly felt than in South East Asia where, out of a total population of 650m people, 15% live below the poverty line [1].

The economic toll on these developing nations is already beginning to show. For example, in Vietnam, the countrys tourism industry is expected to lose between $5.97.0 billion as international flights are cancelled and tourist bookings fall by 60%. A survey conducted by the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Council showed that hotel bookings and occupancy rates are down by around 35% compared to the same period last year. The stock market too has taken a hit, shedding 18% of its value in the last 2 weeks alone. Its a similarly bleak picture in other ASEAN countries. In Manila, Philippines, a 4 week government imposed enhanced community quarantine came into effect on 15th March, directly impacting over 12 million people, many of whom live below the poverty line. A further 3 million informal workers who commute from outside Metro Manila to find casual day labour are also affected by these draconian measures as only those who can show letters of employment are allowed to travel into the Metros borders.

Unlike in Western countries where there are more developed social security infrastructure and welfare systems, the vast majority of the urban working poor in Manila eke out a meagre income with little or no personal savings and no social security infrastructure to act as a safety net in times of emergency. For those who are lucky enough to be employed, for example in low paid jobs such as construction or security, a minimum wage of 540 pesos, around $10, is all their hard days work affords them. No wonder, then, families in impoverished Manila neighbourhoods like San Roque are confused and nervous about what the immediate future may bring.

The reaction by the central government has been somewhat predictable, albeit tinged with an element of inevitability: military and police control of the streets rather than targeted healthcare intervention such as testing and protective equipment for healthcare workers. History, rather ominously, has shown that governments have used crises to significantly increase their power. Of course, we are told at the time that these extended powers are only meant to last during the time of the crisis, but somehow they end up never being removed. Covid-19 is already starting to leave its mark on nations and its economies for years to come.

It is in times of acute crisis and uncertainty that ARCC can have a significant impact on the lives of millions of people. ARCC proposes a decentralized approach for the inclusive economic development for the urban working poor. By providing the urban poor with a new economic development model based on the power that cryptocurrencies have for financial inclusiveness and empowerment, millions of people can benefit from an inclusive economic framework for long-term capital gain and entrepreneurial investment. By participating in a range of socio-economic surveys as well as reporting on points of malfeasance, such as incorrect Covid-19 testing kits or inadequate protective gear for healthcare workers, this data, after being verified by other users in the network, can then be used to scope and map out the extent of governmental shortcomings and corruption. The collected data is recognised as a grassroots public mandate for government from the most prevalent but least recognized group of society. Users are incentivised to report on instances of corruption and to complete the surveys by being issued with ARCC. ARCC is crucially structured as a macro crypto-reserve currency and is positioned as a long-term regional microasset, in other words as an accessible store of value that can be used for entrepreneurial capital investment and business development. Not being reliant on centralized systems, such as the value of cash, provides a level of financial independence that is empowering and humanising.

Crises often bring out the best and worst in humanity. It is our sincere belief that the current pandemic and the days afterward represent a unique opportunity to adopt an alternative approach to economic development. By partaking in a bottom-up decentralized approach that provides radical social transparency and fair inclusive access to assets which can be used for entrepreneurial investment, the lives of millions of urban working poor are not in the hands of a centralised system which, at best, has priorities that are not always totally aligned with the economic betterment and advancement of the urban working poor.

The time for a new approach has arrived. It is time for ARCC. This is our moment and as we ramp up development, we hope to create equality in both economic and humanitarian priorities.

Author: Cyrus Afkhami

Head of Research of IBMR.io & ARCC

Editors: Eric Tao, Head of Media IBMR.io & Sinjin Jung, Managing Director IBMR.io.

[1] ASEAN Statistical Leaflet 2017. https://www.aseanstats.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ASEAN-Statistical-Leaflet-2017_Final.pdf

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How ARCC can be applied in pandemic to improve the lives of millions of urban poor - Elemental

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April 12th, 2020 at 8:45 pm