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Erin B Taylor

Dr Erin B. Taylor

Principal Consultant, Canela Consulting

Dr. Erin Taylor is an economic anthropologist who specialises in research into financial behaviour. She is Principal Consultant at Canela Consulting. Erin is the author of the book Materializing Poverty: How the Poor Transform their Lives (2013, AltaMira), which deals with socioeconomic transformation in the Dominican Republic. She has published chapters (with Professor Heather Horst) on financial inclusion and financial literacy in Haiti and the Dominican Republic in Money at the Margins (2018, Berghan), Design Anthropology (2017, Springer) and Linguistic and Material Intimacies of Cell Phones (2018, Routledge).

Erin and her colleagues exhibited objects they collected during their research in Haiti in the Citi Money Gallery at the British Museum. Erin is co-author (with Gawain Lynch) of the Consumer Finance Research Methods Toolkit (IMTFI), which describes how researchers are adapting methods to investigate financial behaviour. Recently Erin has been working on a project on financial inclusion in Africa.

Erin is also a co-lead (with Dr. Anette Broløs) of the research programme of the European Women Payments Network (EWPN).

Listen to our podcast interview with Erin, or read the conversation here.

Fintechical solutions to inequality: A human perspective

In 1903, sociologist Georg Simmel called money ‘the great leveller’ for its ability to reduce all transactions to a common denominator. Many attempts have been made to harness money’s levelling properties for the purpose of fostering greater socioeconomic equality. Over the last few decades, people have especially looked to technical solutions to fulfil this goal.

Unfortunately, we now know that these technological solutions are flawed. For example, algorithms inherit the biases of the people who make them, and while they can be immensely useful, they can also exacerbate inequalities.

In this talk I explore some of the technical solutions offered to counter financial inequality and show how they clash with both human and machine realities. I argue that we need to invest less time looking for technical solutions, and more on asking what it means to be a financial being, how our finances underlie our life projects, and what a financial world made for humans might look like.

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