About the project
Track if finance meets society’s needs
The first step in designing the Dashboard of Finance was to define society’s needs. A broad range of experts and representatives – including environmental, social, democratic, development, employee and consumer interests – met in initial workshops to discuss their dream and nightmare scenarios about finance.
Our priority is to monitor where we are today, based on our vision of a financial system that serves society. We want to show both the indicators that measure the specific ways that finance affects society, and the change solutions that could improve them.
About the project
- What is the Dashboard of Finance?
The Dashboard is a civil society initiative powered by Finance Watch, which aims to answer the question: is finance serving society?
The 2019 release has been written and compiled by Duncan Lindo, Senior Policy Advisor, with input from the rest of the Finance Watch team. In the future, we hope members, friends and the public will contribute to developing and enriching the indicators.
The project collects empirical data, via indicators that use official, academic and other public data sources to measure the real impacts of finance on society, such as its economic contribution, stability, political influence, contributions to tackling climate change, impacts on social inclusion and equality, among other things.
The Dashboard also links to change solutions, including policy ideas that could improve outcomes for society.
- Dreams and nightmares
During the initial stakeholder workshops, people expressed…
Dreams! All agreed that finance should serve society’s needs before its own. All want the financial sector to focus on helping citizens to manage their financial resources and risks at different stages in their lives and helping businesses to survive and thrive. All want it to play a bigger role in tackling society’s biggest problems, such as climate change, inequality and poverty, instead of making them worse.
Nightmares! All wanted to avoid having an overgrown financial sector that simply extracts value out of the economy, that is prone to crises, bail-outs and recession. Some were afraid that resource misallocation and fees would bring a future with pensioners retiring in poverty and businesses failing for lack of investment. Others feared that finance would prevent the energy transition instead of helping it, or that over-lobbying would undermine public trust in politics. Some said we are already in the nightmare!
- Why are you doing this?
The dashboard’s purpose is to fill a gap in the official response to the financial and economic crises. The official response restricted itself to the prudential perspective: creating embankments to protect citizens in case of another tsunami – when the obvious problem was the size and (speculative) nature of financial products and activities. That is the reason why the business model of most financial institutions has barely changed.
We want to address that by defining what society itself wants from the financial sector, measuring how well those needs are being met, and proposing ways to change their models and priorities.
The data raise fundamental questions that go beyond the objectives of official reform efforts. By using empirical data to pose questions about whether the financial system is making society more or less sustainable, more or less fair, more or less productive, and more or less democratic, we hope that the Dashboard will provide a starting point for exciting new policy directions in financial reform.
- How can I get involved?
This is an open list – if you would like to propose a new indicator, challenge one already included in the Dashboard, share updated information or contribute data from your own research, please contact us.