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Annual review 2012

21 February 2013

Our latest Annual Review provides an overview of STWR’s key activities over the course of 2012 as well as an insight into our plans for 2013, which include a website redesign, the publication of further reports and our involvement in a number of upcoming events. 


  • Overview  
  • Financing the Global Sharing Economy 
  • Communications Drive 
  • Editorial Policy 
  • Events and Presentations 
  • Plans for 2013 
    • New Website 
    • Next Report 
    • Other Publications
    • Upcoming Events


In 2012, STWR published its most substantial report to date, Financing the Global Sharing Economy. Following its launch the report was widely communicated to key individuals and organisations and introduced at several conferences, both in the UK and abroad. Other activities throughout the year included participation at a number of  events and workshops; conducting preliminary research for STWR’s next report; and a shift in editorial content to focus more exclusively on STWR’s central message on sharing. 

2013 will see STWR establish a new website that specifically focuses content on the concept of economic sharing, alongside a range of resources that can help inform visitors about how and why sharing is an important part of the solution to urgent global crises. The participation of STWR at a number of forthcoming events and workshops has been confirmed, with further events likely to be attended throughout the year. In the first half of 2013 STWR’s research focus will be on an international programme of emergency relief to end life-threatening deprivation, followed by a further report on sharing the world’s natural and other resources. 

Financing the Global Sharing Economy

There are a number of key ideas and conceptualisations that STWR put forward in this first major publication for the organisation. Particular attention is paid to the general framing of the report, which considers critical global issues from the perspective of the ‘sharing economy’ and the ‘global sharing economy’ (the latter term being coined by STWR as a simple catchword or meme that captures the importance of sharing wealth and resources on an international level). In the report, systems of progressive taxation and redistribution are considered to be pre-eminent examples of economic sharing, which extends the existing definition of the sharing economy that is based on collaborative consumption and various emerging forms of peer-to-peer services. 

Just as important in the report is STWR’s definition of the global emergency facing humanity. Broadly speaking, this refers to the devastating and worsening human impacts of extreme inequality, climate-change and policies of economic austerity. 

Finally, the report sets out in some detail 10 policy recommendations that readers can learn more about and support as campaigns. It is demonstrated how these 10 measures alone could mobilise over $2.8 trillion globally that governments could use to strengthen and scale up the global sharing economy and address the global emergency.The report only considers economic sharing in its initial and most critical aspect – sharing financial resources on an emergency basis to prevent life-threatening deprivation.

Nonetheless, this is a crucial first step in world repair and renewal, and one that should arguably precede other aspects of economic sharing that require more substantial reforms to the global economy. As STWR argues in the report, the longer term goal is to establish an effective global sharing economy that can secure basic human needs for all within ecological limits.

It has now been more than 3 months since the report was published, and it is fair to say that it has been well-received and has helped promote the concept of economic sharing as a credible solution to global crises. We continue to distribute the printed report and executive summaries at every opportunity, and our next publication will build on the broad ideas set out in the current report in order to outline an international program of emergency relief that can prevent life-threatening deprivation as a foremost global priority. 

Communications Drive

Since publishing the report Financing the Global Sharing Economy we have conducted a significant communications drive and have sent physical copies of either the full report or the executive summary to many hundreds of key individuals throughout the world, include progressives figures working in politics, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the media, as well as prominent activists, academics, writers and other influential individuals. 

We have also written numerous articles and used our online social network platforms, website and newsletter to help promote and generate public discussion about the report. The response has been positive, with several articles being re-published by popular alternative media sites. The report has also been featured by other organisations, such as the Institute for Policy Studies and the Lucis Trust, and we have already received a number of direct enquires about STWR’s work and requests for our participation at events. 

We are still promoting the report at every opportunity and have further plans for distributing the remaining copies to interested institutions, in particular to universities and colleges. It is likely that we will continue to focus on raising awareness about the report and its ideas in 2013, at least until we have completed research for STWR’s next publication. 

Editorial Policy

In recent months we have increased our output of articles, blogs and other ‘sharing’-related content on our website. This coincided with our decision to develop a new website (see below) in which we will shift entirely away from reprinting articles written by other people, and instead publish only unique content written by STWR and guests. However we still keep on top of news and events in the media, and we comment on relevant developments in our now regular blog posts. This is an essential shift that we are enthusiastic about developing further as we move into 2013.

Our social networking platforms also continue to be a valuable tool for communicating with a wider audience, promoting STWR’s work and highlighting relevant ‘global justice’-related material for engaged citizens. In tandem with our shift on the website to publish only STWR’s content, we have also shifted towards posting only sharing-related items of interest on our Facebook and Twitter sites. If publishing articles, videos, news or other material that is not authored by STWR, we now try to comment on the items from the perspective of economic sharing in some way. We continue to have many fans sign up to STWR’s social networking sites, with over 2,000 followers on Twitter and over 40,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook (as of February 2013). We hope to have more interaction from users on these social networking platforms as STWR increases its output and raises its profile. 

Events and Presentations in 2012 and Early 2013

Since the summer of 2012 we have presented our work – either directly focussing on the recent report or on economic sharing more generally – in a number of professional or grassroots forums that included the following: 

Small is… Festival: STWR held a workshop during this three-day outdoor festival held in Rugby at the end of August. The co-organiser, Practical Action, has invited STWR to participate in or host a larger debate at the 2013 festival. 

The Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI) Annual Conference: STWR participated in GCGI’s 10th Annual Conference held at Waterperry House, Oxford, at the beginning of September. STWR gave a presentation based on our report Financing the Global Sharing Economy, and forged good relations with a number of notable scholars as well as the founder of the GCGI, Dr Kamran Mofid. 

World Public Forum, Rhodes, Greece : STWR presented a paper entitled ‘Envisioning a New Earth: Sharing the World's Resources' during the third plenary session of the 'Dialogue of Civilisations' 2012 conference in October, which was attended by policymakers, academics and NGOs from around the world. This gave STWR’s director an opportunity to communicate a bold vision of why and how sharing is a solution to social injustice and ecological crises, and how a universal call for sharing has the potential to unite both environmentalists and those campaigning for global justice. The presentation was positively received by other delegates, and the conference gave STWR another opening to connect with like-minded thinkers and progressive scholars.

Global Sharing Day: STWR were one of the partners for the world’s first-ever ‘Global Sharing Day’ that was spearheaded by The People Who Share on 14th November. STWR helped to promote the event and attended a forum along with other organisations on the theme ‘Financing the sharing economy’. In our communications for the event, we hailed Global Sharing Day as an important opportunity to shine a spotlight on the growing demand to scale up systems of sharing and redistribution across the world. We look forward to participating in the second Global Sharing Day in June 2013, for which STWR will publish a campaigners guide to ‘food sharing’ which is the theme of the international event.

House of Commons event on the Sharing Economy: STWR attended a panel debate in Westminster at the end of November 2012 on the sharing economy and the policy challenges it presents. This enabled us to put forward our perspective on the sharing economy to a crowded room at Portcullis House, which led to a lively discussion and Q&A session with the other panellists - Caroline Lucas (MP for Brighton Pavilion and former leader of the Green Party), Benita Matofska (founder of The People Who Share), and Chris Hewlett (fellow of the Finance Innovation Lab).

Dialogue Eurasia Forum, Antalya, Turkey: STWR was invited to give a presentation to a distinguished audience from Eurasian countries at this event held in November 2012 under the theme ‘Rethinking the global economic order’. This gave STWR a further opportunity to present the key ideas from the report Financing the Global Sharing Economy, in which we highlighted 10 redistributive policies that could mobilise the resources needed to prevent needless poverty-related deaths as an immediate goal for the international community.

Earth Rights and Sharing World Resources: On 11th January 2013 STWR gave a presentation at the London School for Economic Science alongside Alanna Hartzog, co-director of the Earth Rights Institute and General Secretary of the International Union for the Taxation of Land Values. The event was organised and chaired by David Triggs of the Henry George Foundation and was followed by a lively question and answer session. STWR is also invited to participate in a forthcoming conference that wil be held at the same venue in July 2013. 

GlobalNet 21 Webinar, 18th February 2013: STWR conducted an online presentation and participated in a lively discussion on the theme ‘Sharing as a solution to global crises’. The presentation included an explanation of why and how sharing should be placed at the forefront of policymaking, and how the principle of sharing has the potential to unite campaigners and concerned citizens on a common platform. The webinar was hosted by Jaz Rasool on behalf of GlobalNet21 and attended by around 30 participants, and is now available to watch online. 

The feedback we received from these events has been altogether very positive. All the presentations were taken seriously and commented on by the audiences in these rather diverse forums, and a number of valuable contacts have been made. Moreover, it is likely that STWR will be invited to speak at these and/or other conferences throughout 2013. 

Plans for 2013

New website
The new website will focus centrally on STWR’s work/message and will provide visitors with a clearer understanding about our organisation and the principle of sharing from political / economic / philosophical perspectives.  

Next report
STWR will also be concentrating on researching and writing another report during the first half of 2013. This next publication will build on our recent report to outline a practical proposal for an international emergency relief program to prevent life-threating deprivation and needless poverty-related deaths, as previously outlined in much earlier writings by STWR. 

According to our broad strategy for the coming year, this new report is intended to cover the second of three major areas of focus for STWR. The first report in this series, Financing the Global Sharing Economy, outlined the practical application of sharing within the existing economic system, and highlighted the importance of raising international finance in order to tackle the worst instances of human deprivation across the world. 

The second report is intended to give much more detail about ‘how’ international finance could be used to end life-threatening deprivation as a foremost global priority, even before implementing major structural reforms to the global economy. It is planned that this second report will form the basis of a campaign initiative which will attempt to galvanise public opinion around the needto immediately end hunger and needless poverty-related deaths as a foremost international priority.

The third and final report in the series is intended to cover the major reforms to the global economic system that are needed to share wealth, power and resources more equitably between and within countries as a solution to the world’s crises. 

Although the second and third reports in this series may take some months to complete, our plan is to continue writing articles or short briefs on all these broad issues throughout 2013. It is hoped that this will enable us to outline STWR’s overall concerns and perspectives in the different events that we will participate in throughout 2013.  

Other publications
Another important publication in the new year will be a series of in-depth articles by STWR’s founder, Mohammed Mesbahi, which will examine the nature of the principle of sharing from both philosophical and political-economic perspectives. Mohammed’s previous article, ‘A dialogue on protest, sharing and justice’, has been widely read and translated into French and German. Further publications by Mohammed are also in the pipeline with editorial assistance from STWR’s editor, and it is planned that a long series of articles by Mohammed will be published over 2013/14 and eventually culminate in a book. 

Upcoming events
STWR has already been invited to participate in a number of events and conferences throughout 2013. At present we have decided not to actively seek out opportunities to participate at events in the UK or overseas owing to our need to complete the new website and our existing research priorities. However, we will continue to take up every worthwhile opportunity that comes our way, and we expect there to be a number of invitations for STWR to participate in various forums as the year progresses. We will also consider putting on our own event once our next report is published, which may be associated with the aforementioned campaign initiative on global sharing to end life-threatening deprivation. 

The new website will focus centrally on STWR’s work/message and will provide visitors with a clearer understanding about our organisation and the principle of sharing from political / economic / philosophical perspectives. 

As of February 2013, some of the main events we have committed to attend include: 

Global Sharing Day, 2nd June 2013: On the second annual Global Sharing Day organised by The People Who Share, STWR will publish a campaigners guide to food sharing issues in the UK and abroad, which is the key theme of this years event. 

School of Economic Science Colloquium, "One World, One Wealth" - June 23rd, London: STWR will be one of four speakers at this all-day event, conducting a 50 minute presentation and discussion and also participating in the final plenary session. Other confirmed speakers include John Cristensen of the Tax Justice Network.

School of Economic Science 4-day conference in London – 24-28th July 2013: STWR will participate at an event being organised by David Triggs (Chairman of the Henry George Foundation) and Alanna Hartzog (General Secretary of The International Union for Land Value Taxation).

Small is… Festival in Rugby – summer date TBA, 2013: Following STWR’s workshop at this event in 2012, the organisers at Practical Action have invited us to participate in a larger forum at their 2013 festival. 

Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI) in Paris – August 2013: Kamran Mofid (GCGI’s founder) has invited STWR to chair a panel discussion and present a paper at the 11th Annual Conference of the GCGI. 

Further opportunities for interviews/events/conferences are expected to arise during the course of 2013.