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Banking Futures: Making Money Sustainable

Banks are increasingly viewed as a bane to a healthy economy. But done right, banks can play a key role in the shift to sustainability. Today, Sea Change presents three perspectives on futures for banking. Peter Blom, CEO of Triodos Bank in the Netherlands, proposes a shift in the mission of banks, from maximizing profit to maximizing sustainability. Doug Rushkoff, author of LIFE INC, discusses how a surplus of debt that banks needed to sell triggered the financial meltdown. And Lyle Estill describes the role a chapter in his book SMALL IS POSSIBLE played in a local currency in North Carolina, The Plenty, being carried by a local bank.

Triodos Bank was just named Sustainable Bank of the Year in an award from the Financial Times and International Finance Corporation. Last year, Triodos CEO Peter Blom was knighted into the Order of Orange-Nassau for pioneering sustainable saving and investment schemes. At the recent Summit on the Future of the Corporation, Blom facilitated a World Cafe session where he gave a concise presentation on the changes necessary to achieve sustainability — from the individual to the systemic level.

Doug Rushkoff discusses the instrumental role banks played in the current financial crisis. His new book ,LIFE INC, is about how corporatization is holding our lives as captives, all the way down to our individual identity. In the book, Rushkoff presents the counter-intuitive notion that a surplus of money caused our collective financial crisis.

Finally, we end with a story of hope: the role banks can play in supporting local currency, and the revitalization of regional economies. Lyle Estill’s story of how a chapter in his book, SMALL IS POSSIBLE, helped inspire a local bank to back a local currency in North Carolina serves as a launching pad for Estill to discuss the larger context of how local economies can help solve our concurrent crises around climate change, resource depletion, etc…

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