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What’s money got to do with it?. Using Action Research to challenge the power of the system. What’s money got to do with it?. Who creates the vast majority of money in the economy? The Treasury? The Royal Mint? Banks and Building Societies? The tooth fairy? What do banks say?. So What?.

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What s money got to do with it

What’s money got to do with it?

Using Action Research

to challenge the power of the system


What s money got to do with it1
What’s money got to do with it?

  • Who creates the vast majority of money in the economy?

    • The Treasury?

    • The Royal Mint?

    • Banks and Building Societies?

    • The tooth fairy?

  • What do banks say?


So what
So What?

Some Assumptions …..

  • The current money system is somewhere on a continuum from ‘encouraging’ to ‘necessitating’ growth

  • There are limits to growth

    Based on these assumptions ……

  • There is a view that traditional financial institutions are a significant part of the system that is driving the growth that is reducing sustainability


My inquiry
My ‘inquiry’

How do I engage the directorsof a large financial institution in a conversationabout the inherent unsustainability of the business they run (and are passionate about)?


The power of the system
The Power of the System?

Dimensions of ‘Power’ (Cynthia Hardy)

  • Decision making power

  • Non-decision making power

  • Symbolic power (used to make sure conflict does not arise)

  • The power of the system –

    • works to ‘produce certain advantages without being consciously mobilised’

    • is about ‘unconscious acceptance of ...values, traditions and cultures ‘

    • is often about supposedly ‘neutral, functional constructs’


My inquiry reframed
My ‘inquiry’ reframed

How do I work with themto challenge the power of a systemwhose power we are dimly, if at all, aware of

(and from which we all benefit!)

?

How do I engage with people who construct their world differently, on a topic that really matters to me

?


My story the process
My Story – the process

  • With the Executive directors (2006 -2008)

    • Several cycles of ‘different’ reading

    • 7 workshops at offsite meetings

    • 4 cycles of 1 to 1 meetings

  • Plus 10 full day sessions with different groups of people from around the business (2007)

  • Eventually connected to

    • The ‘Sustainable Finance’ work being convened by WWF

    • An investigation into financial exclusion

  • An attempt at a co-operative inquiry?


My story outcomes
My Story – outcomes?

  • A big step forward in terms of environmental consciousness and action

  • An authentic desire on the part of the directors to ‘do something’, to be a ‘tempered radical’ organisation

  • Continuing time with the executive despite the ‘credit crunch’

  • Organisational engagement in the ‘sustainable finance’ work

  • And “Business as Usual”!


My story why did they even listen
My story – why did they even listen?

  • Making myself ‘vulnerable’

    • “Here is a truth about me – I don’t know what to do.”

    • My journey

  • The fact that had done, and was doing, a ‘real’ job

  • Not preaching

  • Personal capital – if I took it seriously, there might be something in it, and

  • “An external would not have had the same impact.”

  • A foot in the door (my MSc project)

  • Inquiring ‘with’ them, not ‘at’ them or ‘on’ them

  • And yet ............................



A question
A Question .....

Do we want to pursue some kind of inquiry into the current money system and its impacts, so that

  • we can better understand our impact on ‘sustainability’

  • and therefore understand

    • what, if anything, there is that we want to be ‘tempered radical’ about

    • what we might choose to do to accentuate the positive and mitigate the negative


Responses to the question
Responses to the question ......

ranged from .....

“the inquiry is vital for all sorts of reasons”

to

“stop inquiring and come with a proposal and fast forward to what an alternative would look like”


My story two worlds
My story – two worlds

  • In the room at the latest workshop

  • And a conscious parallel



Some reflections
Some reflections.....

  • This is about challenging how people construct their worlds

  • You don’t have to be ‘CSR’ to do this - (in fact.......)

  • This is hard, detailed, work

  • It’s hard to maintain a sense of agency (will I have made any practical difference?)

  • What is my ‘obvious but difficult to see’?

  • ‘Lock in’ can be in people’s heads, even intelligent, caring people’s heads



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