mercoledì 19 marzo 2014

Moneylab @ INC, Amsterdam - Friday 21 March (Detailed Program)

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09:00 – 09:30 – Doors open
09:30 – 11:00 – Session 1: Monetization of Everything
09:30 – 10:30 – Crowdfunding workshop for beginners (parallel event in Cinema Hall)
11:00 – 11:15 – Tea break
11:15 – 13:00 – Session 2: Dismantling Global Finance
11:15 – 12:15 – Crowdfunding workshop for advanced (parallel event in Cinema Hall)
13:00 – 14:00 – Lunch break
14:00 – 15:40 – Session 3: Critical Art Practices
14:00 – 15:00 – Crowdfunding workshop for beginners (parallel event in Cinema Hall)
15:40 – 16:00 – Tea break
16:00 – 17:30 – Session 4: Mobile Money
16:00 – 17:00 – Crowdfunding workshop for advanced (parallel event in Cinema Hall)

Friday 21 March

09:00 – 09:30 Doors open, coffee and tea

09:30 – 11:00 Session 1: Monetization of Everything

Session description:
Emerging digital technologies have enabled an explosion of alternative financial models. However, they cannot and should not be discussed as ‘internet solutions’ without positioning them in a larger context. They may have sprouted as a result of the 2008 global financial crisis, but do internet currencies and their models offer a sensitive response to this by simply monetizing all aspects of life? What other functions can we imagine for them? Can alternative revenue models also make bold claims to resolve current contradictions in capitalism? In addition to new money flows it is necessary to design new economic models for the redistribution of existing wealth. These can be used as vehicles for discussing growing inequality worldwide; however, while some directly target these issues, long-term development is still missing. How can they be made viable at a larger scale, acting more like public money and tax money rather than staying outside the regulatory framework? Is an equivalent of money even needed, and what would a non-monetary economy look like?
Moderator: Geert Lovink
>> Saskia Sassen (US)
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.
>> Stefan and Ralph Heidenreich (DE)
At its base, economy deals with the allocation and distribution of work and goods. We are used to taking money as a given, a sheer necessity, but the tasks of allocating and distributing work and goods can also be redefined in network terms in a graph-theoretical approach. In that case money would not be the only means of solving these tasks; data and algorithms could perform the same service. A non-monetary approach to economy poses some general questions, both in theory and in practice. Do we need a general equivalent of money, or can it be avoided altogether? What existing economic models might be applied? Who can be considered an economic agent – a person, a group, an object? What elements of a non-monetary economy are already in place? What kind of time frame is set and which data are needed? How do we organize infrastructure without money? What about innovation or progress? And what would a technical implementation look like?
>> Bill Maurer (US):
Closed Loops and Private Gateways: Money, Technology and the Public Interest in Payment
From ancient tallies to coins, cards, and now mobile devices, money has always been a matter of technology interfacing with law, with rights and corresponding remedies embedded in institutional arrangements, and with the material form of money and/or its accounts-keeping. A ‘Cambrian explosion in payments’ is currently taking place – a profusion of business experiments with new technologies for the systems that people use every day in physical and online spaces to buy things. It is raising anew questions about the role of the state and public institutions in warranting the clearance, settlement, and safety of retail payments, as well as, more profoundly, the role of the state in warranting money itself. That this Cambrian explosion comes on the heels of the global financial crisis is no coincidence: the financial crisis put the wind back in the sails of alternative currency proponents, ‘sound money’ advocates and gold bugs, as well as others interested in challenging the state’s monopoly over money. How can we understand the public function of payment as a kind of utility in our digital and data-saturated world, especially as ‘big data’ leads many corporate actors to seek to commodify behaviour and activity in a new way, simultaneously creating and enclosing new commons?
09:30 – 10:30 – Crowdfunding workshop for beginners (parallel event in Cinema Hall)
Organizer: teach2fish
“By igniting leadership, you can ignite crowds” – Karim Maarek, founder of teach2fish, is a creative trainer and advisor with a big heart for others’ passions and enterprises. He has developed numerous crowdfunding, community building and personal leadership programs and is especially interested in accelerating sustainable and creative ventures, via the crowd. He defines crowdfunding nowadays increasingly as crowd campaigning and crowd caring because money is just one part of the equation. Moving crowds has three main components: excellent preparation, a damn good story and passionately seeking connection. The intensive course “Crowdfund your Dream!” is the flagship product of teach2fish.
Joining this workshop is for free, with the condition that you have purchased a ticket for the conference. You can register for the workshop by sending an e-mail to with your name and the preferred workshop and time. Seats are limited so be sure to book early!
11:00 – 11:15 Tea break

11:15 – 13:00 Session 2: Dismantling Global Finance

Session description:
From Occupy Wall Street and anti-student debt protests in the US to global protests against neo-liberal budget cuts, we are seeing rising protest against the radical redistribution of wealth into the hands of the 1%. Given the waves of market crashes to come, how can resistance be better organized? What are the vital concepts and tactics that we believe can create a new dimension in global protest? Is electronic disturbance a necessary and desirable strategy? What about boycotts? This session calls, first, for a better comprehension of the current financial system and its crisis, followed by experiments with alternatives. How can people grasp finance, given its constant portrayal as a complex, highly digitized giant that is always run by ‘others’ (states, banks, and corporations)? How can they be encouraged to take up active roles and experiment with alternative models?
Moderator: Nathaniel Tkacz
>> Franco Berardi (IT)
Money language insolvency
Money and language have something in common: they are nothing and they move everything. What can the syntax, semantics, and pragmatics with which we analyze language tell us about the concept of money? What is the referent, the signifier and the injunction in this case? Could we identify them in ‘money as equivalent’, ‘money as abstraction’ and ‘money as blackmail’? How have the changes in money’s substance (from coins to paper to electronic transfers) affected its very meaning and its relation to value? Can we expand the discussion of debt by adopting similar linguistic analyses: financial debt, moral debt and semiotic debt? Is it possible to use money as a tool for social composition? Franco Berardi will address the insolvency of money language and the position of alternative currencies within this context.
>> Brett Scott (UK)
Applying the hacker ethic to the financial system
Our perception of high finance frequently bears a resemblance to our perception of high technology. We often view it as a black box that we interact with without really knowing how it works. This in turn disempowers ordinary people relative to financial professionals, disconnects us from the investment process, and contributes to a pervasive sense of alienation from the money we use every day. In this talk Brett Scott will sketch out why hacker philosophy can be a useful framework with which to approach the financial sector, and will share examples from his experience working both within the financial sector and with financial campaign groups.
>> Tiziana Terranova (IT)
Virtual Money and the Currency of the Commons
Terranova addresses tensions, oppositions and possible convergences between post-autonomist analyses of the financial crisis to be found in the writings of post-autonomist authors such as Toni Negri, Christian Marazzi, Andrea Fumagalli, Maurizio Lazzarato and Carlo Vercellone (and their notion of a ‘currency of the common’) and the processes of creation of virtual currency. It reviews some of the points of tensions and the oppositions to a project such as Bitcoin (such as its extractivist model of money creation as mining and its faith in algorithms), but also some of the convergences in the drive to experiment with a constituent critique of financial capital. What kind of relation can be drawn between virtual money and the kind of currency which would support alternatives to neoliberal capital? How can social struggles and subjectivities be brought to bear on the process of money creation? If money is a social convention, now inflected by the powers of digital communication and computation, while the social is a relation, what could be the role of social network technologies in practical experimentation with virtual currency creation?
>> Brian Holmes (US)
Money Unlimited: The Consequences of Quantitative Easing
Austerity is usually presented as the implacable discipline that must follow easy credit in order to clip the wings of profligate speculators. Yet it has only affected those without major resources, who formerly depended on the job market, public institutions, and state redistribution. Meanwhile the US, Japan, the UK and a number of other countries have re-inflated their stock markets and property values by emitting new currency on a hitherto unseen scale. This creation of value ex nihilo could potentially have been used to meet urgent human and ecological needs, launching a twenty-first century socialism. Let’s look instead at the real consequences of a world built on fictitious capital.
11:15 – 12:15 – Crowdfunding workshop for advanced (parallel event in Cinema Hall)
Organizer: teach2fish
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch break

14:00 – 15:40 Session 3: Critical Art Practices

Session description:
An artist’s relationship with money has always been one of crisis. Perhaps this is one reason why money itself makes a particularly suitable subject for highly critical and unique artistic practices. In this session three artists will illustrate different histories and understandings of money and finance in relation to the art world and society. These include an experimental art reserve bank, an exhibition of interactive public sculptures, and finally a humorous stand-up economy performance.
Moderator: Patricia de Vries
>> Ron Peperkamp (NL)
Peperkamp will talk about the Art Reserve Bank – a monetary experiment set up by artists and economists to test the viability of a new reserve currency. The value of this currency is based, not on the promise of endless economic growth, but on the value of art. With an industrial mint and a big concrete safe, the theatrical set-up of the Art Reserve Bank has unmistakable artistic appeal. However, it is not a regular art-project, taking place in the sheltered setting of an art gallery or museum. It’s a real-life experiment involving a real bank that takes real risks with real money. The Art Reserve Bank is doing fundamental research into the premises of a stable monetary system – like public trust in the value of money. Until the early 1970s this trust was inferred by the gold standard, but this can be considered the relic of a Bronze Age value system. This experiment is testing the possibility to introduce a modern equivalent of the gold standard – one more in tune with contemporary values.
>> Dette Glashouwer (NL)
MoneyMoneyMoney (theatre performance)
In her own personal way, like a merchant of the Dutch East Indies Company, Glashouwer takes you through the history of money and alternative money (the Brixton Pound), the first shares, the first multinational and the first bonus, the FED, and what the dead presidents are doing on the dollar bills. She shares her fascination with debt and offers solutions. She confesses her money therapy secrets, wonders how she will ever obtain the happiest income, and whether that would even be a good idea. A personal search for this common subject is easy to imagine, but for many money is a mystery. Everybody wants more, but is there such a place as the ‘Point of Enough’, and how would it feel? Glashouwer has played MoneyMoneyMoney and other (money) performances all over the world, from New York to San Francisco, Berlin to Riga, Nairobi to Durban.
Quotes from visitors and reviews:
“Can I kiss your hand? Your story was so totally to the point this evening”
“Never knew money could be so sexy”
“Money did not interest me, but now it does”
“My brother is a banker, he really has to see it”
>> Dadara (NL)
Amsterdam-based artist Dadara is internationally known for public sculptures that intertwine performance and multimedia to critically challenge our relations to different utopias. In this session he will present his experiences of two particular projects.
Exchanghibition Bank: In today’s financial crisis art is frequently cited as an advantageous alternative asset class. But do the millions of dollars that might buy you a Hirst, a Koons, or a Picasso have anything to say about social and artistic value? The potential for change? Whatever your opinion, the Exchanghibition Bank is committed to serving Art: The Art of turning Art into Money.
Transformoney Tree (exhibited at the Burning Man Festival, Nevada): Our current form of currency is increasingly turning from a neutral medium of exchange into a system, solely based on our trust, that mortgages the present moment for an ever-receding future payoff. Participants at Burning Man Festival were able glue banknotes to the Transformoney Tree. In this process money lost its financial value, but became added value for the artwork. Money has become almost a part of our Nature, so it’s hard to realize that for a large part of their history humans lived without Money, and this might be the case again in the future. But long after Money is gone Nature will still be there, and we might still be able to pick things of real value from trees.
14:00 – 15:00 – Crowdfunding workshop for beginners (parallel event in Cinema Hall)
Organizer: teach2fish
15:40 – 16:00 Tea break

16:00 – 17: 30 Session 4: Mobile Money

Session description:
Whereas in the West US-American credit card companies remain in control when it comes to Internet payments, elsewhere in the world things look different. When traditional banks were not interested in servicing citizens of the so-called ‘developing worlds’, telecoms took over the job. They expanded their initial monetary system of purchasing airtime and SMS credit to include a wide range of services, from P2P payments to water and electricity bills, school fees and transportation. Today, mobile money is front and centre in development discourses. While it is often positioned as a solution for the unbanked, this session tackles some lesser-known but problematic issues: what are the implications of mobile money being simultaneously a private tool for people as well as a marketing and surveillance tool for providers? What do we know about the underlying infrastructure between ‘peers’? What challenges is mobile money currently facing?
Moderator: Bill Maurer
>> Stephen Musoke (UG)
Mobile Money – What is Needed for The Next Stage of Growth?
Mobile money has grown by leaps and bounds as a means of peer-to-peer money transfer in Uganda and Kenya – this is the case for the world famous M-pesa. Mobile money’s growth has been fuelled by the availability of feature mobile phones, poor transport infrastructure, low financial institution penetration, and a large agent network for cash-in and cash-out. However, mobile money is facing multiple challenges as it aims to grow beyond its initial successes, as financial institutions have realized its threat to their traditional business models and are now responding by partnering with telecoms, providing competing products, and improving existing services. In addition to the inherent simplicity of the technology, the use of USSD menu-driven sessions that quickly expire, the lack of cross-border transfers due to regulations, and the complexity of USSD menus for less literate populations are challenges to growth. 80% of commerce is centred around agriculture, so the further development of mobile money from the initial peer-to-peer money transfer application will require changes to support transactions for merchants, deferred transfers, simpler transaction steps for the less literate, a simpler transaction fee structure, and integration with 3rd party systems outside the telcos.
>> Erin Taylor (AU)
Mobile money and the ‘social good’ of financial globalization
After decades of mixed results from microfinance initiatives, mobile money has the potential to provide a portfolio of financial tools to the world’s poorest people by building on existing infrastructure, reducing transaction costs of service delivery, and providing more reliable ways of identifying financial customers. Yet mobile money is not just ‘microfinance’: it is a private good that incorporates individuals into a global financial system – often for the first time. Drawing upon a case study of Haiti as well as global data, Taylor teases apart the private and public properties of mobile money to address the historical and economic implications of incorporating everyone around the globe into one global financial system. She contrasts mobile money on the demand side (as a tool that frees people to build their own networks and economic security) with mobile money on the supply side (as a device for surveillance, marketing, and public goods provision). Taylor uses the term ‘social goods’ to describe how, as development and market ideology collide, private goods and public goods are taking on each other’s properties. Finally, Taylor argues that socio-economic development and global finance, when objectified in mobile money, lose their distinction.
>> Taylor Nelms (US)
Mobile Money and the Social and Technological Infrastructures of Transaction: Lessons from the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion
The rapid expansion of branchless banking and mobile money initiatives around the world, often in the service of an explicit ‘financial inclusion’ development agenda, has provoked questions about the intersection of novel technologies and financial systems with existing monetary practice. The Institute of Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion at the University of California, Irvine has supported five cohorts of researchers, mostly from the global South, who have carried out investigations on the interface of technology, policy, and practice. This talk will focus on a finding in their research that complicates the taken-for-granted peer-to-peer (P2P) model of much mobile money discourse: the plurality of the P at either end of the mobile money transaction. The lesson that not all ‘peers’ are individuals — or rather, that such actors are always situated in a particular social context — gives rise to questions about the technical and social intermediaries that connect them, the ‘2’ that stands for the infrastructure through which value is transacted. In turning our attention to the transactional architectures foregrounded by mobile money initiatives, we must ask about the technical specificities of those systems, but also about the specific ways people use such systems in everyday social settings. How is our understanding of money transformed by a focus on the infrastructures of transaction?
16:00 – 17:00 – Crowdfunding workshop for advanced (parallel event in Cinema Hall)
Organizer: teach2fish

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