Business Administration. From Barter to Bitcoin and Beyond: Re-imagining Money for a Sustainable Future
The Lund University offers an interesting course of Business Administration.
Growing inequality, apocalyptic environmental damage, and the protracted effects of a global financial crisis have resulted in a discussion on the role of our monetary system for the organization of society. At the same time, new technological and financial developments are giving rise to much experimentation on new forms of money. This course looks at various attempts to “re-imagine money.” It explores opportunities for addressing big societal challenges and asks in particular how new forms of money can contribute to developing more just and equal societies. A passing grade on the course will be awarded to students who:
1. Knowledge and understanding
- Demonstrate an understanding of how our national and international monetary systems work.
- Demonstrate an ability to identify relevant research topics within the are of international strategic management of trade and monetary exchange.
2. Competence and skills
- Demonstrate an ability to integrate knowledge on international management, monetary theory, and digital technologies to analyse, assess and deal with issues related to various forms of local, national and international monies.
- Demonstrate an ability to independently identify a social / environmental challenge and formulate a design for a monetary system addressing that challenge,
- Demonstrate an ability to assess the potentials and limitations of particular monetary system and clearly present arguments of its strengths and weaknesses.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the future challenges and main issues related to international strategic management of glocal monetary systems.
3. Judgement and approach
- Demonstrate an ability to assess the boundaries of the current monetary system and discuss the opportunities and limitations for change agents to impact it.
- Demonstrate an ability to identify their need of further knowledge concerning monetary systems and technologies and to take responsibility for developing their knowledge.
Imagine you have the possibility to re-imagine our monetary system: Where would you start? How would you build it on the new monetary technologies? How would you work to make it more conducive to just and equal societies? The global financial crisis of 2008 marked the beginning of an intense discussion on the consequences of our monetary system on the organization of our societies. The concentration of wealth in “the one percent” in parallel to austerity policies, the increase of prices of financial assets parallel to a retrenchment of the welfare state have resulted in a generalised realisation that the monetary system has not been serving the interests of the population as a whole. The discussion on the organization of our monetary system is however as much driven by frustration towards the financial system as it is by excitement about new monetary developments. New payment systems (such as Swish or Apple Pay), the decline of cash, the emergence of digital currencies (such as Bitcoin and Ethereum) as well as local currencies (such as Time Dollars, Regiogeld or Transition Town currencies) and the development of new financial practices (such as P2P lending, crowdfunding or ICOs) are opening up our thinking on money and our possibilities to re-imagine, re-organize and re-claim money. That is, the changing nature of money is giving rise to a wave of experimentation on new forms of money. These experiments see money not as an obstruction but as a vehicle for constructing more sustainable economies, more resilient communities and more fair societies. While these new monetary ideas and real-life efforts may seem contradictory, money scholars, practitioners and activists agree that money needs to be re-organized, that this can be done from the bottom-up, and that we can indeed imaginatively engage with the future of money. This course is addressed to students who want to explore the idea that money can be re-designed. Students will be exposed to the theoretical and practical realities that come with “re-imagining money”. The course does not require previous knowledge in neither finance nor economics or technology. It however does ask students to be open to actively engage in re-thinking the monetary landscape. We will do this through a monetary workshop at the end of the course, in which student groups will be designing a monetary system for a particular social purpose.
The course combines a variety of methods, ranging from traditional lectures, case studies, interaction-based pedagogy, reading groups, student debates, group work, and money co-creation workshops. Students are expected to participate actively in class.
Examination in this course is a two-step process:
- Mid-course written exam; max. 2 pages. In a short written essay, students will be asked to describe an aspect of the current monetary system.
- Final written take-home assignment; max. 5 pages. Students will be asked to design a monetary system to address a particular social / environmental challenge. In a written essay, students will be asked to present the monetary system they have designed and discuss its potential and limitations. This exam needs to engage the literature discussed throughout the course. The examiner, in consultation with Disability Support Services, may deviate from the regular form of examination in order to provide a permanently disabled student with a form of examination equivalent to that of a student without a disability. Sub-courses that are part of this course can be found in an appendix at the end of this document.
Entry requirements for this course are that the student has taken courses in Business Administration corresponding to 30 credits
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