Will compensating volunteers via a complementary currency system increase volunteering activities for elderly care in Singapore?
Liew, Hui Xian.
Liaw, Wellisa Leono.
Low, Pui Yee.
Date of Issue2013
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Can money buy everything? Or are there goods and services that markets do not honour and money should not buy? While current debates on the increasing reach of markets usually present the choice in terms of either strictly social market or strictly monetary market, this paper proposes a third, intermediate option: a Complementary Currency System (CCS), or a parallel system of exchange. We propose a CCS in the form of an online game called „SingaReach‟. SingaReach aims to tackle the challenge of providing affordable elderly care in Singapore that caters to both the physical needs for assistance and the psychological needs for companionship and contribution of the elderly. SingaReach also allows people to exercise both their selfish and altruistic desires at the same time. To test the concept with our target groups, we carried out 7 experiments with 65 participants. The experiment results show that SingaReach leads to gains from trade and monetary cost savings. In addition, the SingaReach platform contains features of both social and monetary markets, showing that the choice between strictly social and strictly monetary market is an unnecessarily restrictive one. By moving out of the analytical blind spot of having a single type of currency, we show that man-made institutions can adapt to the complexity of human nature, and that there is much to gain from doing so.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University