A New Perspective on Finance: How Finance Could Work for Commons



Professor Bernard Paranque from Kedge Business School delivered a very interesting and thought-provoking guest seminar at the Centre for Governance, Leadership, and Global Responsibility, Leeds Business School, on 23rd February 2017. Professor Paranque is Director of the Centre for Economy and Finance Reconsidered at Kedge Business School, a top business school in France. His seminar, entitled ‘Money: Meaning and Value — the social context and nature of finance’, discussed a new perspective on finance that explores how finance could work for commons rather than purely for capitalists. The key ideas from Professor Paranque are as follows:

  1. The collective appropriation of means of production involves a clear specification of the terms of the formulation. The term ‘collective’ cannot be reduced to appropriation by the state, that is, nationalisation of the means of production. At best, that is just a particular case in the context of commitments that exceed the capacities of location-based actors (e.g. railways, aerospace). The ‘collective’ expresses a shared vision, communally mobilising resources with various legal statuses but deployed in a coordinated, deliberate way (Lavigne-Delville, 1998; Le Roy et al, 1996).
  2. The term ‘means of production’ does not need to be understood in its productivist meaning, nor reduced to its material, tangible dimension alone. It must be understood as the identification, including cultural, of the means necessary for being fully human. As such, finance as a ‘commons’ is a form of finance that enables this humanity built on a recognition of the debts that we have, not in terms of submission but of recognition of that which has been given to us and that which we can deliver in turn. This is necessary if we wish to respond with solidarity and sustainability to the challenges of development with which we are confronted in order to be ‘able to help nature give birth to the virtual creations that lie within its bosom’ (Benjamin, cited by Fischbach, 2011: 135).

In this perspective, an ideal-type approach is used to analyse ‘interstices’ in which emancipation could appear. The question is how use value can escape from the domination of exchange value, and how could we promote another kind of private property freed from capital.

Seminar summarised by Dr. William Sun, Deputy Director of the Centre for Governance, Leadership and Global Responsibility

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