III/IV: Our Vision to Prioritize Humanity
Updated: Jan 29
Community Credit Lab holds a vision of a society living in connection with one another - collectively building towards a financial system that prioritizes humanity and reinforces belonging.
We - as individuals, groups, communities, and societies - are deeply interdependent, but more often than not, we live in ways that signal and prioritize individualism. When our decisions are guided by individualistic ideals, the result is often detrimental to the collective and perpetuates disparities. This is clear across the many systems we navigate daily, especially the financial system.
Traditional finance is built upon the notion that those who hold the most capital have the most power. As a result, the system prioritizes their desires above others – from who makes capital allocation decisions, to the criteria used to evaluate who receives capital, to the price at which capital is provided. The flaw in this logic is that it does not recognize that we are interdependent and that our individual wellbeing is inherently linked to the wellbeing of our neighbors. This imbalance has historically created harmful financial relationships.
With respect to the financial system, when groups in power do not reflect or empathize with people seeking capital, needs are ignored, different business practices are seen as unconventional, and social and environmental inequalities are exacerbated. Reevaluating the premises on which our current financial system was built can help us break the existing cycle where some benefit to the detriment of others. Human nature demands that we interrogate dystopian approaches, especially at systemic levels. The survival of our species and the longevity of a harmonious planet will continue to result from our co-dependence on one another, from our trust in one another, and from our collective belief that we are all deserving and capable of thriving alongside each other.
What are we building towards?
Understanding our collective power will help us build towards a more equitable financial system, a more just society, and a more sustainable planet. There is no single model that will solve the disparities we see because there are so many tools that we can wield and so many more for us to forge and test together. If we orient to prioritize our shared humanity and our interdependence when we pilot new models it will push us to think beyond our standard profitability frameworks. And if we share what we learn (both positive and negative) from our explorations we will be able to amplify new ideas and translate solutions so that they are accessible to others. If this experimentation is led by those who see and experience social and environmental challenges and problems first hand, we will be able to reorient our approaches to an angle that serves those who are most deserving of service. And, if we are capable of this reorientation, we will ultimately serve the whole of our society.
Our current financial system is far from this vision, but we know that change is possible – we see it happening because we are in conversation and designing with so many others that are building a new vision – their vision. We are finding hope in models that shift power structures and address both the affordability and accessibility of capital. We are welcoming engagement with our approach so that we can build more inclusively by decentralizing processes and decisions. Most of all, we are energized by working to shift the paradigm of what is possible.
This article is Part III of a IV part series outlining our research, thoughts, and vision for Community Credit Lab to keep working to make lending more equitable.
Previous: Paths Toward Equitable Funding Solutions