MoneyLab: Coining Alternatives
Session 1: Monetization of Everything
Saskia Sassen (US) - Finance is not about Money
Conference Day 1 (21 March 2014)
Sassen’s research intertwines topics such as globalization (including its social, economic and political dimensions), immigration, global cities (including cities, finance and terrorism), and the new networked technologies. Her previous works have challenged the hard-armoured, established truths and dynamics of mainstream finance. In The Mobility of Labor and Capital (Cambridge University Press, 1988), Sassen showed how foreign investment in less developed countries can actually raise the likelihood of emigration; this went against established notions that such investment would retain potential emigrants. How, then, can the financial inequality of less developed countries be addressed differently in the light of new financial models like mobile money? Similarly, in The Global City (Princeton University Press 1991; 2nd ed. 2002), Sassen showed how the global economy is far from being placeless. It has, and needs, very specific territorial insertions. The paradox with the world’s most powerful financial cities is that while their centres benefit from a highly digitized financial activity (from banking to investments and consumers markets), this financialization has physical footprints: with rocketing house prices and loan interests, the city pushes those who can no longer compete to the periphery. The need to re-empower people is vital when discussing what functions alternative financial models and currencies should fulfil.