“Today we are halfway in the digital revolution. We have digitized pictures, right? Then we have digitized books. Then we have digitized music with mp3s, movies with mp4. Next is digitizing money, digitizing reputation, digitizing identity--digitizing ourselves.” That’s from one of the speakers in a new short online film, On The Money, that examines the revolution that Internet and mobile technologies are fomenting in the ways people around the world store and exchange value--and even in what they view to be valuable.
The film offers a sweeping view of the fundamental shifts in the financial system that are happening around us today. The trends are inspiring--towards greater inclusion through improved access to capital and credit and lower barriers for anyone to start a business and innovate.
On The Money, made by Ericsson as part of its Networked Society series (we’ve written about their installments on both cities and education in the past), features thought leaders like Matthew Bishop, New York bureau chief for the Economist and Kosta Peric from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well people on the front lines of these shifts, like the head of Airbnb’s public policy and Vincent Kiyingi, a microfinance technology executive in Uganda.
Bishop notes in the film that while money isn’t always the end “purpose,” it is often the means by which problems get solved. Improving the technology of money--through mobile money and banking, crowdfunding, and the emerging “reputation”-based economy--stands to make looming societal problems more manageable.
“A lot of the way the credit and the financial system is set up, it locks a lot of people out and it really centralizes wealth and control and production, and that’s had a real effect on economies and innovation and the way people live,” says author Rachel Botsman. “It’s kind of a blowing up of power. You now see this power moving from the center to the edges."