Person to Person: A vision for a Quality of Life World
What if we could step out of the culture of blame and victimhood into a reality that gave us freedom and agency to pursue our dreams? What if there was a way out of the isolation and polarization that so many of us find ourselves in, toward authentic connections with others, across all divisions and borders? What if we lived in a world that revolved around quality of life, rather than economic winners and losers?
an environment that incentivizes goodness, fairness, sustainability, and freedom
In Person to Person, Joeri Torfs and Pim Ampe describe this world and chart a clear path toward it. Grounded in research and rooted in reality, the world they describe is neither a utopia nor a fantasy. Person to Person presents an environment that incentivizes goodness, fairness, sustainability, and freedom. It begins with the individual and moves toward our collaborative relationships. Finally, Person to Person proposes a financial environment that would enable this Quality of Life world to flourish—one that is already underway.
I recently caught up with Joeri Torfs and Pim Ampe to learn more about why they wrote the book and the ideas they share with readers.
Why did you write this book?
We wanted to inspire people by sharing a vision for a better world, one in which people have the freedom, resources and knowledge to cultivate quality of life.
Worldwide, we’re dealing with systemic crises, grown from the capitalistic system we created and cultivated. We’ve built a society centered around hard economic values as efficiency, yield, cost/benefits, and effectivity, among others. Such an efficiency-oriented society, where we focus and rely on figures, facts, protocols, and control is bad for us humans.
humans—not money, not power—are the driving force of society
Too often, we prioritize economic gain, disconnect from each other, and lose human values like empathy, connection and trust. These skewed priorities often lead to inequality and power plays.
We sought to develop a viable alternative. The Person to Person vision builds a world around human values, making it possible for everyone to enrich their quality of life.
Economics certainly matter, as they truly are a part of a sustainable society. However, humans—not money, not power—are the driving force of society. Caring for them should be a top priority. Economics should never rule at the expense of humanity; when it does, we chart a course toward an unsustainable existence.
We believe that people need a path forward to unlearn all the unhealthy habits we have developed over time. The problems that exist in our world will only continue to worsen as issues like climate change or social unrest exacerbate the challenges we’re faced with. The only way out of this is by coming together and forming new ideas. We need humans to function with their utmost imagination, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The way to cultivate that is to build an environment that will help people function at their best, taking their quality of life seriously.
quality of life at the center of every process
The Person to Person vision puts people’s quality of life at the center of every process. It lays the basis for a new way of structuring society, one that honors our human needs and enables humans to connect authentically with each other. The last one hundred years have created layers upon layers of inefficiency; societies have tried to patch existing structures, such as government and financial systems—but we need more than a patchwork if we as a species are going to survive the imminent challenges ahead and thrive. We need to envision, create, and implement a radically new environment to replace the obsolete structures we have today.
We believe this is necessary if we are to free the latent potential of humans, restore the relational connectedness we long for, and thrive in a just and sustainable economic environment.
What’s fundamentally different or specific about this Person to Person environment ?
We like to think of it as a “heterotopia,” which means “a place where things are different.”
It’s different in many ways: there are no hierarchies, which means no bosses or power plays. Finances—like investments and loans, are conducted person to person without a middle-man organization, like a bank. Individuals don’t blame others for their happiness of lack thereof; they’re given tools to take agency toward their quality of life. That’s just a start.
We could sum it up by saying it’s an alternative way to build a life, but it uses all the resources and technology we have available to us today. It doesn’t require magical thinking—the Person to Person environment is one where people still run into struggles and challenges. People are still people: they’re flawed, they have strengths and weaknesses, and are still usually motivated by self-interest.
The rules of the game shift to incentivize fair play and frictionless collaboration
But, in this environment, people have different ways to cope with those challenges that lead them towards greater quality of life. The rules of the game shift to incentivize fair play and frictionless collaboration.
In a Person to Person environment there are four important parts to consider:
- The individual: This part of the book explains how we can step away from an attitude of victimhood and build a conscious mindset, helping us self-steer and build resilience in dealing with the challenges of life. Although we can’t always have everything we wish for, we may have more agency than we sometimes realize in building quality of life for ourselves.
- The community: This second part describes ways to build effective relationships and frictionless collaborations. A Person to Person environment doesn’t have hierarchies— no powerplays, no bosses. You’ll find other tools to make collaboration and community building work.
- The economic environment: The third part of the environment involves how we deal with money, the elephant in the room. Money is complicated, and often drives inequality or power plays. In this part of the book, we explore the options on how to create an economic environment built on novel technologies such as blockchain to promote a financial environment that is more equitable for all.
- The opportunities made possible by all of the above. This fourth part explores innovative solutions that contribute to building more quality of life.
How would you sum this all up?
Person to Person is a book about how to live better, how to work in harmony with your fellow humans, and how to create a more just and vibrant world. In the proposed environment, self-interest actually promotes better outcomes for all, leading to more agency, equity, greater quality of life, more environmental sustainability, and more passion and fulfillment. All the tools required are already available; we just need people to experiment with them and begin the evolution.
Joeri Torfs has spent his career as an entrepreneur, software developer, and IT enterprise architect, building structure from chaos and regularly challenging the status quo. He is driven by knowledge and learning, and advocates freedom, self-agency, and sustainable collaboration.
Pim Ampe is a therapist with extensive experience in the mental health and welfare sector. She works in a variety of therapeutic positions, specializing in Dialectical behavioral therapy and solution focused therapy, as well as serving as a prosocial facilitator. Pim’s life purpose is to help people increase their quality of life by expanding their ability to adapt and self-manage in the face of life’s challenges.