Morality and Money on the Move

Friday, June 24, 2016: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
83 Dwinelle (Dwinelle Hall)
Magdalena Villarreal, CIESAS, guadalajara, Mexico
Gerardo Enrique Garcia, CIESAS, Guadalajara, Mexico
In this paper we will discuss how meanings attributed to saving and investing are sieved through ideological and/or moral evaluation. Labels such as stingy, ambitious, conformist, generous, pretentious or disinterested are applied to people in their relationship to money. People’s financial decisions are imbued with significations pertaining to different regimes of value operating within their social circuits.

Based on two case studies in different parts of the State of Jalisco, Mexico, we will show how financial practices such as saving and investing constitute complex, interrelated and complementary processes that involve a variety of discourses, practices and meanings, associated to flows, reserves and exchanges — monetary and non-monetary.  

The static character of monetary reserves is described, in one of the cases under study, as undesirable, arguing that their benefits are not put to good use. People consider that investment favors material reproduction because it is assumed that the movement of resources (material and non- material, monetary or not) will produce benefits at short or long term.

The other case highlights the social nature of monetary transactions, also considering the mobility of money, but more in the perspective of interaction between households and community members.

Both cases reveal the multiplicity of meanings entailed in financial practices, the dynamics involved and the relevance of velocity and timing in such practices.