Could online marketplaces tackle poverty?

Wingham Rowan
28th Jan 2010

The case for accessible Internet marketplaces which could create economic opportunities for people in poverty.

'National e-markets' would be safe, convenient, accessible Internet marketplaces with ultra-low overheads. The private sector alone cannot create these marketplaces, but they could quickly be realised using the same model that created the National Lottery. Recommendations include:

  • Government should not fund, design, build or operate such marketplaces, but it could:
    • provide a regulatory framework and access to validation procedures;
    • divert public spending to local communities through the new markets, which could encourage the private sector to create regulated markets in return for a small cut of each transaction.
  • Positive results for government could include:
    • a new tool for tackling worklessness;
    • more precise public services;
    • a new model for skills; and
    • benefits efficiencies.
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