Posts tagged ‘remittances’

November 13, 2011

risk love

by Melissa

So far in this new writing space i’ve been very focused on making connections about debt crisis across time and space….  the role of the banking sector and the investor class in creating public debt… the impact of debt on genuine democracy…

I want to take a step back and try to explain the name of this blog.  Why risk love?

Part of my preoccupation with Wall St’s role in debt crises (then and now; here and there) stem from a desire to unpack the extent to which the investment mechanism effectively decides what a society does and how.  How should we understand investment in an era where financial investment (foreign direct investment, sovereign bonds, business loans, venture capital etc. is implicitly the lifeblood of society?  The irony of the bank is that it pools all our money and invests in against us!  But maybe an investment doesn’t have to be this way…

i watched a video yesterday http://capitalismisthecrisis.net/and one academic makes the point that pension funds are working class investments (in fact withheld wages) being channeled for capitalist accumulation… i think in a sense this kind of thinking is fruitful… is the way to go- to walk this weird road of how to really invest in (ie support with money, time) the things we love and do it keeping the value of labour at the centre.

The debt hold is one way that the current investment mechanism works against us.  We are beholden to bankers because they have managed to convince us that the only way forward (development, progress, growth, security) is to take their money now and pay them back on their terms.  Their terms include forced economic restructuring, market-based (read: wildly fluctuating) interest and exchange rates and other conditionalities that make it almost impossible to pay off.  Moreover, paying off “our” debts requires further borrowing.

My project here on remittances (money im/migrants send home) and the banking sector  is also an attempt to understand how investment works in the Philippines, who benefits from this capital flow, how development is being defined…

How are  the ways we assess risk (a migrant family, for example, may not be eligible for a loan because she doesn’t own enough) undermining our ability to invest with love in the things we value?  How is the concentration of wealth undermining our ability to go out on a limb for something visionary, progressive, and pro-people?  (Why would a bank that also owns real estate, telecommunicatons, and giant retail course “its” money into agriculture?)

Occupy Wall St-  has begun to collectively ask an important question:  what is the role of banks in society?  I hope that as we continue to probe this question,  we take the opportunity to define our values and build an investment infrastructure that can effectively put our money (among other resources) where our heart is.