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Catching up with FUSION: If ‘money is the root of all evil’, what’s the alternative?

Economic growth is ever-increasingly driven by financial markets as we move away from a productivity-based model of capitalism.

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Where once finance was a tool used to provide capital for producers, it has become a means to an end for speculators cashing in on private and public debt along with fluctuations in currency valuations. This basis for national economic growth is unstable and the resulting profits, unequitable. One year on from featuring in REU75, we get back in touch with Dr Matilde Massó, Associate Professor at Coruña University (Spain), to see how her research under FUSION (The effects of financial capital accumulation on employment and wealth distribution), undertaken with the support of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme, has evolved and what new insights she has gained since last we spoke with her. In Dr Massó’s opinion, economic instability is an inherent feature of capitalism, leading to noticeable fluctuations of economic outcomes. “High levels of public indebtedness in Europe, and the commercial crisis of USA with China and Mexico, are important factors that will affect the growth of the global economy. It is worth remembering that most financial crises follow self-fulfilling mechanisms. The fear of the next crisis, combined with an unsustainable situation, is enough to bring on a downturn.” The idea that the current model is the only way to proceed is one that her research challenges, and it is in that awareness-raising of alternatives that she feels the project lives on. “I’m working hard to disseminate the main results of the project through journal articles and a book that has been approved for publication by Routledge in 2020-2021. In addition, I’m the guest editor of a special issue on the social consequences of financialisation that will be published in 2020.” FUSION explored new monetary forms to overcome the challenges associated with the social consequences of under-employment. It considered a system of valorisation based on a ground-breaking unit of account that allowed for a more balanced relationship between individual preferences, general interest and the common good. “For the moment, I’m working on the initial ideas for a theoretical prototype of a new monetary concept that will be collected in a book and a journal article that are in the process of publication,” says Dr Massó. Although the project has ended, Dr Massó is set to challenge the current perspective that there is no alternative way to measure value.

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