Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Part 2: Doug Rushkoff on the Role of a CFO

Continuing from the last post, how do you fulfill your fiduciary responsibilities to customers, employees and to your community?
Doug Rushkoff says: don't take the rules of economics for granted.

The corporate model is one of centralised control is supported by the currency with which we make transactions, and visa versa. "The money we use is only one of many monies. We just take for granted that the economic rules we play by are the only ones possible."

Doug argues that in the Late Middle Ages, although there was "a coin of the realm" used for long-distance business, it was local currencies made communities prosperous. If you sold a hundred pounds of grain, for example, you received a piece of paper stating the value of that hundred pounds of grain that you could divide as necessary in your community to buy other goods and services.

Because the local currency tended to devalue with time, people would put it back into circulation as quickly as possible to buy what they needed. Communities made investments in themselves as well with the extra cash flow, Churches, for example, were built to bring pilgrims and tourists to town. Local areas, therefore, produced their own ecology of wealth.

Doug offers this as one solution for companies today: “Money can be earned into existence instead of lent into existence.” CFOs that are willing to remember and acknowledge this can participate in and generate real community activity. According to Doug, this is the only sustainable business model today and the strongest competitive advantage.

More in the next post.

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