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On 15 September 2018, the ten year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, #WEAll campaigners gave away free money outside the bank’s former building in New York. The purpose: to urge people to rethink our relationship with the economy, and to promote sharing, collaboration and dialogue. #FreeMoneyDay #10yearson

Photo and video by Create the Remarkable

Blog post by Lisa Hough-Stewart

What happens when you give away free money to strangers?

WEAll teamed up with our members the Post Growth Institute and Finance Watch to do just that.

On September 15, 2018, ten years to the day from the collapse of Lehman Brothers (which triggered the financial crash), a small group of us stood opposite the old Lehman Brothers building on 7th Avenue in New York, and dished out cash.

This stunt was part of the Change Finance coalition’s #10yearson campaign. The purpose was simple: to provoke people to think about our relationship with money and what the economy is for, encouraging sharing and collaboration instead of greed. To emphasize the point, we invited everyone to take two dollars – one to keep, and one to pass on to someone else.

In preparing for this stunt, I gave plenty of thought to our messages, the logistics, the risks – and not much thought to how people would react. In fact, I assumed that the $500 we had to give away would disappear within half an hour, with people grabbing bills as quickly as they could.

The reality was more complex, and it said a lot about our relationship with money: exactly what we were there to explore! At first, almost everyone was wary and confused, and many would not engage with us at all, refusing to believe anyone would just hand out money with no catch.

We didn’t get a lot of outright negativity, but a lot of people were quick to put up their hands and say, “I’ve got enough”. A nice sentiment, as our economy certainly needs a better concept of “enough”: it was pretty clear, though, that this response was defensive. People did not want to be seen to be in need.

Our pitch went along the lines of “It’s free money day! You get a dollar, and you pass one on to someone else”. The last part of the sentence was transformational. We could see the penny drop, as people who had been quickening their pace to avoid us suddenly smiled, slowed down and started to engage. The sharing element connected with people instantly, and that’s when they wanted to know more about what we were doing.

My favourite part was the people who really got into the spirit of it, eager to give away their dollar straight away – a few even joined our team for a while! Kids were particularly thrilled not just to get a buck but to hand out money to others. I lost count of the number of people who said we made their day.

It didn’t take half an hour to get rid of $500 on a Saturday afternoon in New York City. It took almost two hours. In those two hours, we had conversations with strangers lasting from a few seconds to fifteen or twenty minutes. We shared ideas, laughter and hugs with these strangers as we connected over the idea that we all can do better, and build an economy that works for people and planet.

  • Free Money Day is a global event in which people hand out money to strangers in order to raise awareness and start conversations about the benefits of economies based on sharing. http://www.freemoneyday.org/
  • Finance Watch is an independent, non-profit, publicinterest association dedicated to making finance work for society. It was created in June 2011 to be a citizen’s counterweight to the lobbying of the financial industry and conducts technical and policy advocacy in favour of financial regulations that will make finance serve society. It now expands its mission to include work on campaigns that demand systemic change, and coordinates the Change Finance coalition. 
  • The #10YearsOn campaign has involved over 60 organisations to reimagine the financial system. Its demands are focused on a financial system that serves people and planet, that is democratically governed, and that is stable.

Images by Create The Remarkable

On the ten year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and the financial crash, we think that #WEAll can do better. We can build a wellbeing economy. #10yearson

English version:

Spanish version:

Diez años después, ¿podemos cambiar?

¿Podemos crear una economía basada en las personas? #10añosDespues #10yearson #WeAll

Posted by PlayGround on Friday, September 14, 2018

Video by Playground

For immediate release – Film and photography opportunity available 14:00-15:00 EDT, Saturday 15 September, outside 745 7th Avenue, New York

 

14 September 2018

TEN YEARS after the collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered the 2008 financial crash, campaigners are encouraging New Yorkers to rethink the economy and our relationship with money – by handing out free cash.

Campaigners from global networks the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll) and Change Finance will hold signs saying “FREE MONEY” and distribute two one-dollar bills to anyone who wants them. The only stipulation is that people pass on half of the money to someone else.

This act of generosity in New York will be replicated across the world on the same day. Free Money Day campaigners will seek to highlight the problems with our current economic system, which has not changed for the benefit of ordinary people in ten years despite the dire warning of the 2008 crash.

By dishing out free cash, they hope to encourage people to rethink our collective relationship with money, and promote the idea of an economy based on sharing and collaboration.

“Free Money Day is an invitation for people to explore, in a liberating and fun way, what it might be like if our relationship to money was a little different”, said Diego Isabel, Strategy and Connections lead for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance.

“The 2008 crash was one of the clearest indicators we’ve had that the financial system is broken. Yet, global leaders did not take the opportunity ten years ago to transform the economy to the benefit of all: instead they entrenched the ‘business as usual’ approach”, Isabel continued.

“We’re asking people to imagine an economy that serves people and planet, that works for all of us. An economy that is based on sharing and collaboration.”

On behalf of Change Finance, Benoit Lallemand, Secretary General of Finance Watch, said: “We are facing urgent challenges: social, environmental, political. It all starts with freeing society from the grip of finance.”

“When planned effectively, the financial system has enormous potential to be a positive force. We need to reset the system,” Lallemand continued.

Donnie Maclurcan, Co-Founder of Free Money Day, added: “The hidden story of our current ‘economic boom’ is that debt has kept rising, because money keeps accumulating. We’re sleepwalking to collapse, with global debt having reached US$247 trillion. Free Money Day is a chance to remind people that debt is temporary when money constantly circulates.”

 

Notes to Editors

  • The Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll) is a new non-profit alliance, which exists to help bring about a transformation of the economic system, of society and of institutions so that all actors prioritise shared wellbeing on a healthy planet. Born out of existing movements for system change, WEAll has more than 30 organisational members and seeks to amplify and connect the diverse movement for a wellbeing economy. Find out more at wellbeingeconomy.org
  • Free Money Day is a global event in which people hand out money to strangers in order to raise awareness and start conversations about the benefits of economies based on sharing. http://www.freemoneyday.org/
  • Finance Watch is an independent, non-profit  public interest association dedicated to making finance work for society. It was created in June 2011 to be a citizen’s counterweight to the lobbying of the financial industry and conducts technical and policy advocacy in favour of financial regulations that will make finance serve society. It now expands its mission to include work on campaigns that demand systemic change, and coordinates the Change Finance movement
  • The first campaign of Change Finance, #10yearson, has involved over 60 organisations to reimagine the financial system. Its demands are focused on a financial system that is serving people and the planet, that is democratically governed and that is stable.

### ENDS ###

 

Contacts

Lisa Hough-Stewart, WEAll

lisa@wellbeingeconomy.org

+44 7470 411 531

Twitter: @WEAll_Alliance #WEAll

Facebook: @WEAllAlliance

 

Donnie Maclurcan, Free Money Day

media@freemoneyday.org

+1 541 631 8680

Twitter: @freemoneyday #freemoneyday

 

Ten years since the financial crash, it’s time for system change.
12 days of action from September 15, worldwide

WEAll is joining the Change Finance Coalition to demand change in the finance system.

A decade ago, banks got bailed out and the public got sold out.

We didn’t cause the crash but we paid a heavy price. Lost jobs, stagnant pay and less money for schools and hospitals.

Our financial system remains as rigged and dangerous as ever, from casino trading to recklessly funding fossil fuel projects, treating nature as free to waste.

Instead of sleepwalking into another crisis, it’s time our politicians took action.

10 years on, we’re calling on our governments to change finance for good!

Get involved

What would it be like if our relationship to money were different?
September 15, worldwide

Free Money Day is a global invitation for people to explore, in a liberating and fun way, what it might be like if our relationship to money was a little different. On September 15th, worldwide, people will hand out their own money to complete strangers, two coins or notes at a time, asking the recipients to pass one of these coins or notes on to someone else. It’s an opportunity to start fresh conversations about money, sharing, and anything else that might come up.

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