Tuesday, April 14, 2015

the class film trip

After watched the short film, I can feel that little girl's emotion. She was new to an environment, the new school, new language, new friends. She try to fit in the place with her mom's stuff. But her new classmate make fun of her, she want to keep this friends so she give up of her mom's skies. This is also reflect the society that the pressure from the society influence people to do something that they do not want to do. 
it also reflect that if one have some new, or expensive stuff, other people will treat him or her better. More like submissive behavior. I can feel that the little girl feel sad and shamed of use old stuff. But she try to make herself become the same person as her new classmate. So the society can change person. 

Grandmas Pension

The short film about the father and daughter living of the grandmother's pension was quite interesting. There seemed to be no "debt" involved because it was not exposed or explained that the father would pay his mother back for taking care of them. It could be viewed as an alternative perception of giving money to another person compared to the hegemonic thought of today. Maybe it is the sense that it is family and that's why there was no "debt" involved between the father and grandmother? Or it was because there was a daughter that needed taken care of? Either way, it could be viewed as an alternative perception to debt.


I felt like there was a sense of reciprocity in the movie where the nurse helps the man get away from the police.  I think of it as more of a moral reciprocity in the sense that what you give you get. You help someone out you get help in return one day when you need it.  

There can also be a sense of giving in the last movie.  They give their time to help stand up against the government in an attempt to stop them from kicking another family out on the street. They all join together in order to be as "big" as possible in a way to i kind of make the police think twice about coming up.

Monday, April 13, 2015

field trip

I enjoyed the class field trip and I think the movies showed were very interesting. The movie, which impressed me a lot, is the one called “class trip”. Before the little goes to her new school, she enjoyed using her mother’s old skies but as long as she goes to the new school and meet all the other rich students, she changed her mind. She tries to fit into the friend circle by throwing away her old skies so that the other students will not laugh at her. At the end of the story, the little girl was looking through the window and look at the other classmates holding their fancy skies. I wonder that she can stay away from this time, there is going to be a lot more in the future. Before she saw the others using fancy skies, she enjoyed using her old skies. Peer pressure can change what people think and how people act.

mobile money

After read the article, it remind me think about the the social network in China, not only one people sale their product in the social network. There are million of people post picture in their social network and sale these product, then use the online bank to transfer the money. these people link the bank account to the cell phone, and save the address, card information, number on it. So they don't need to write the information again. I think this is not very save for the customs, if the hacker want to know the account information and hack people's card, it is very easy form them. 
The social network related people together, make the information exchange become easier, but it is also very convenient for those people who want to steal the money online. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Class trip

This short film was very well done technically but it also had a powerful resonance with me, specially regarding some of the readings that we have done through the semester. Specially the ones about non monetary value of goods and inexchangeable objects.

Due to the change of setting in her life the little girl is given a crash course in class differences, a course in who is rich and what makes them different from her, the skis being the object that the filmmaker chose to show us that difference  but it could have been any number of things.

Trying to fit in her new school and among her new classmates, the little girl doesn't care at all about the value that the skis may have, not even the symbolic value that they had because they belonged to her mother.It is a perfect metaphor for what happens with neoliberalism and the idea that economic behavior happens in a historical and cultural vacuum. If that were the case, What rationality has the act of throwing away something that you have and even more contracting debt to fulfil that function?
Yes, it is a little girl. But precisely for that the film leaves you with a bad taste. She shouldn't have been put in the place to make that decision to begin with.    

The film

The film we watched for class last week was quite interesting. The last part of the series stood out to me in particular. That was the one addressing people being forced out of their home in what i think was Spain. The thing that stood out the most to me was how the community was being transformed and greatly impacted by this economic issue. From what i gathered, people were being forced out of their homes, even though they may have been paying their leases or mortgages.

This film gives an example of how property or rights to property can change in a "credit" society. When people do not technically "own" their property, it will be subject to being taken away from them even if they do the right thing, and are making their payments. What I think upset people the most in the film was that even those who were being "virtuous" and paying their rent or mortgages were still having their homes taken from them. This for those protesters was a breach of both the legal and social contract of the right to own something as long as debts are being paid. When this contract is being broken, especially by the government, people become very angry, as we saw from the intense protests. Also this creates a societal issue as no one is able to now feel their property is safe from simply being taken from you.

Sharing and collaborative consumption online

In this article Russell Belk brings into discussion the idea of collaborative consumption that we saw on the video in class but takes it a step beyond from what the video stated. The idea of collaborative consumption and sharing goods and services is a very interesting one, even though I believe that the idea itself is very elitist and the "world" or the "market" they talk about, both in the video and the article, is actually just a minor piece of the real world or the real global market.

If more than 50% of the population of the world does not have internet access, and more than 75% is digitally illiterate, why these concepts are applied as blanket terms to the whole world?

That is why I think these are elitist ideas and does not provide any real alternative for a global economy. The scholars that make them are so comfortable in their ivory tower that is impossible for them to even acknowledge that the everyday reality they experience is not the same for everyone in the world, not even to the majority of the world.

That being said, I think that  the idea of an economy based on sharing some key resources and services is powerful but more complexity has to be added for it to be valid, or even to present an alternative. 


The film about Spain and the reposition of houses and eviction of families was interesting, because it went against the idea of neoliberalism that we have discussed in class. If the women in the video were to be successful on a large scale, it would involve bucking the entire capitalist system that is run on neoliberal principles of competition. Personally, I think that the system focuses too much on competition and profit and not enough of people. Unlike alternative economies, where, even in cases of debt, there is a human element, a system of trust, a social contract, the capitalist system has forced the devolvement of many countries into profit driven societies. Still, it is strange and interesting to think about breaking out of the cycle of neoliberalism, by, as a society, refusing to honor the eviction notices of the big banks. Spain is in the Euro Zone, which is having a lot of trouble now as it is, but I wonder what would happen if people started to break the rules of the capitalist system on a large scale.

Source: Mortgaged Lives. Directed by Michelle Teren

The Class Trip Film

The short film The Class Trip was wonderfully done. I felt that it really showed how society can make us feel pressured into giving up things that are more valuable to us than valuable in money. The little girl who wanted to try to stay friends with the kids that she had just met, threw away skies that had belonged to her mother in the hopes that her new friends wouldn't make fun of her. This is something that many people can relate to, and something that I feel is occurring more often. With a new iPhone that is always coming out, it's easy to want to give up your old phone that works perfectly well, for the new phone that everyone else will have. We talked about how the more valuable the object, the higher your status is in the group. If you have all the nice things that are brand new, you are seen at the top of the hierarchy rather than the person who has a lot of the old models and hand-me-downs. I feel that is one of the messages the film tried to show. The little girl was a new student and didn't have much, and didn't want to loose her status among her new friends. At the end of the film, however, the little girl is looking out the bus window and looks sad. I believe that she feels guilty for giving up her mother's skies in the hopes of using newer ones with her friends.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Mobile Money

The system of remittance/mobile money in Kenya shows the intimate blending of many different social spheres of life in light on new technologies and economic systems. The remittance payments bring together old traditions (such as circumcision ceremonies) and new phenomena (such as increased emphasis on education). What I found particularly interesting in this study was the different ways that people used and viewed remittance payments. On the one hand they were used as tools for empowerment, providing individuals or groups with income that they might not normally be able to acquire. The polygamous nature of many families seemed to be a driving factor in this need for redistribution.

Conversely, the redistribution seemed that it quickly became excessive and an annoyance to many individuals, whether by the shear scale of remittance requests or requests from individuals who the “request-ies” deemed unworthy of remittance. It was in this part of the article that I felt the most personally connected with. Though I have no experience with mobile money or remittance, I can relate to constant technological barrage of social and media demands. In the United States, this barrage is usually divided between the social (messages, requests, posts) and the monetary (advertisements). These spheres can be exhausting enough separately, it is hard to imagine them combined, and especially with the monetary having a personal/obligatory twist.

The implications of mobility are also particularly interesting with these types of transactions. Traditionally, reciprocity and collusion has been increasingly difficult when dealing with longer distances. Now, money can easily be exchanged by people of varying economic backgrounds across countries with very low risks of being lost or stolen and at a very low cost. This has incredible implications from a development, business and personal perspective.

Mobile Money

I found the article by Kusimba to be particularly interesting, as  I was not aware of the usage of this sort of mobile currency in developing areas. The article overall seems to reflect that the author believes this type of currency possesses some promise and could be used for helping provide "banking" type services for those who otherwise may not be able to access a bank. It does provide a type of quickly transferable currency that is safer and more efficient. There is also a noticeable social aspect to this currency as it has become a new means through which people gift each other money and exchange to those who may be far away, such as family members in America. This interconnected network of giving is quite complicated, however, it is a means of establishing a sort of "credit" system quickly and effectively.
My final paper is discussing the issue of development in parts of the world, and proposes possible solutions. This could serve as a possible system to work into many developing nations as banking and credit are difficult to establish in certain parts of the world, however, any other form of exchange is too slow or inefficient to keep up with the present market. There is also the added bonus of allowing people to stay connected even when they are separated by an ocean.The only reservations i would have with this system is possibly leaving a population of people in the process of rebuilding vulnerable to any type of exploitation. Since the currency itself is simply lines of code there is no tangible proof of its existence and that does concern me when it is being used by people who have historically been exploited by nations and companies in the global north.

Money Communities

Because my research for this class looks at the history and non-capitalist experience of North American Rainbow Gatherings--a social/economic experiment that includes elements of the celebratory drumming and dancing environment Bill Mauer describes in his paper, “Money Nutters,”--I was drawn to his framing of two emerging alternative economies: Bitcoin and Time Banks.

He suggests these two economic experiments are “two arms of a hyperbola” (Mauer 2011, 6). I found this geometric visual reference to be interesting but not as effective as it might have been with a graphic (what can I say? I’m a visual learner!). Additionally, while the association allows for interesting conceptual associations and word play (hyperbola/hyperbole), in the end this type of framing has less resonance for me than understanding alternative economic systems in a complexity context.  Rather than systems that are operating in separate spheres, my understanding of how alternatives emerge comes from a complex network of social connections (including knowledge and ideas) that respond to patterns of innovation and adaptation. 

At any rate, Mauer provides a good platform for exploring what he calls “a crazy time for money, not just money’s conceptual status or construction, but its very materiality” (Mauer 11).  It may be of interest to some to know that Athens also has a “time exchange.” Please check it out! http://athenstimeexchange.blogspot.com

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Urban-rural remitances

It is important to understand that remittances are private resources that are part of the family wage, where one of its members, pushed by poor economic conditions in their community and country, had to go elsewhere for work and support the rest of the family. Hence, its main objective is to cover the costs associated with social and economic reproduction of the family (food, health, clothing, improvement of houses, etc.). Remittances therefore come into play as a replacement of the role that a salary or wage would traditionally take. It could be very dangerous to think that remittances can't replace the role of public policy in economic and social development of national economies, even though governments have include them as a target of policy or have come to count on them as a part of the national income.

The article rises a very interesting issue, this being the socio-cultural role that remitters come to play or is given to them in the social structure back home. This money has such value, in many ways, that the physical presence of an individual becomes secondary. It is very interesting to think this through, the question that comes to my mind is, mobile money is a very suitable way of maintaining human relationships even if you are away from home?  

Money Nutters

Bill Maurer put forth some ideas on alternative currencies that have been circulating around the world due to new technological advances and the fear of a systemic deflation. I for one really resonated with the ideas of the "time bankers" who use time as a unit of currency...accounting one hour of one's time used as one hour of another's time used, providing an equal platform for the use of one's labor. This made a lot of sense to me because it is true that as humans, our time is inevitably limited. Capitalism today alludes that one's lifetime is of higher value than another's based on the dollar-worth of one's hour over another...because the work they're doing is "better" or "harder". I don't like this idea because it diminishes the ontology of the individual; degrades the bond of humanism.

I was also enlightened in some sense to how Bitcoin and Air time payments operate, which were always vague ideas to me. I find that with such a seemingly open flow of ideas on alternative currencies, there is potential for more diverse economies. I was interested, though not surprised, to read of the lawsuit from paypal to google wallet. Essentially, there may be slight infringement of intellectual "property" (though my research paper is determined to dismantle the capitalist-centric assumptions surrounding property), but is it such a bad / punishable thing to view like-thinkers as your adversaries? If you ask me, this is against the advocate for change's interests.

Alternative currencies

In the article, “Money Nutters” Bill Maurer discusses a variety of new types of currencies that create alternative forms of exchange. Maurer explains how these forms of currency, such as Bitcoin, have created a new type of economy that is not regulated by state governments, and are also not dependent on cash in order to function. It seems that there are many advantages to these new forms of exchange, but it is important to be aware of the potential problems they may cause. Really Really Free Day is one of these new systems, in which the currency is based on “units of time” (Maurer, p.6). This system may have a lot of potential for solving the problem of wage inequality as well. It is an interesting solution to the current system, where many people are paid a minimum wage that does not provide adequate compensation for the amount of work they do or the cost of living.
It is not surprising that so many people are creating alternative economic systems that better fit their needs. These alternative methods work around the current system, which requires economic inequality in order to function. By not making debt and interest a necessary part of the way money is stored and exchanged, people have more control over their finances. When people are more financially independent, and no one is exploited for their labor, it seems logical that the economy will improve overall, on a local as well as a global scale.


Maurer, Bill. “Money Nutters” Economic Sociology, Vol 12, Nr 3 (July 2011)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Online Collaborative Consumption

      Often times I think on how technology creates a certain level of disconnect between people. We are the generation of digital technology, wirelessly shackled to our devices. Everyday you can observe people walking past each other, staring at a handheld screen with such intense focus that they fail to pay any attention to their human counterparts that pass by, who are also preoccupied with their own little screen. Tablets, smartphones, Kindles, ipods, laptops, etc. are all examples of what I normally associate with a human disconnect. People so wrapped up in what ever little world they are in, that they fail to acknowledge the physical bodies around them. We are reliant on our technology. While I normally say that with slight distain, Belk's article brought some things to my attention.
     It was nice to see people using the internet as a way to share with one another, especially with people who had seen some sort of hardship. However, Belk's big point was that this sort of behavior is transforming the present economy. People's values seem to be shifting toward a more thrifty direction. The example about car ownership values was particularly useful here. Why get strapped down with hefty car loans in order to own a car that I will only use a small percentage of the time? In the past car ownership seemed to be an instilled cultural value of the American, and now people are moving away from this thought process. Rather than buying things they don't need, people are sharing with one another for those rare occasion items (such as the electric drill that was mentioned).
     The question that is being raised is how will companies handle a market that isn't purchasing as many goods, because the market is sharing. I can't offer a real solution for the big companies that will be taking a monetary hit because of this behavior, but it is apparent that corporations who produce and sell long term items may need to start considering the consumers disinterest in long term due to the practical uses of these products.


you are what you can acess

People are always being quite with the stranger and enthusiasm with the people we are familiar with. We will invite the people we know well to our home rather than a person who you just meet twice before. We might share the source or stuff we have to our friends. But Internet increase the process of these, Internet facilitated sharing. We can download some music, movie, book, and source online, which are sharing by other people. We also can share the source that we have to help others. It makes our society become more integration and contemporaneity. And the article talking about collaborative consumption, for example the Zipcar. It is car sharing organization try to make people buy the card so that these people can drive the car without pay the oil, insurance stuff. There are more and more way to collaborate consumption. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

diverse economies

This article brought up some interesting point of diverse economy. I think my opinion might be different since I grown up in the communism society. In the article, it discussed about people were kind of lean toward to capitalism after the collapse of the Soviet Union and I noticed that people are still confused about how socialism works. From my point of view, I think that there is some benefit from socialism that capitalism should adopt. We are still not sure if the entire free market if good or not. People are scared of socialism because of the collapse of the Soviet Union but there are some people still suffering from the 2008 economic crisis. And also because we are under the globalization circumstance, not only people from America but also people from all over the world suffered from the economic crisis. It brought up my memory that some businessman committed suicide in Japan because of the economic crisis. But at that time, in China, people did not suffer as much as expected. I am not saying which system is better, but in socialism, what people call “the invisible hand” can take some action if the economy system is not balanced. People are still working on finding a good system.