A New View on the Financial and Economic Crisis of 2007-2010

The new book of Roland Benedikter, Visiting Scholar at The Europe Center, and European Foundation Professor of Sociology, with the title Social Banking and Social Finance: Answers to the Economic Crisis will be published in print and online in February 2011 by Springer and will be available worldwide. Social Banking and Social Finance: Answers to the Economic Crisis will be available worldwide, with a foreword by Professor Stefano Zamagni of Johns Hopkins and Harvard Universities, and an introduction by Professor Karen S. Cook, Chair of the Sociology Department and Director of its Institute for Research in the Social Sciences at Stanford University.

The outcome of research carried out in the academic year 2009-10 at The Europe Center at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, in cooperation with the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies of the University of California at Santa Barbara, the book was given the honor to be the very first of the new Springer Series called “Springer Briefs,” dedicated to concise texts on innovative, future-oriented  topics for researchers, students, and the broader public.

The book presents an alternative analysis of the financial and economic crisis of 2007-10 from the viewpoint of social banking and social finance, and offers a complete introduction into contemporary social banking and social finance for readers with no previous knowledge. Written in a concise and accessible manner, it explains the history, the philosophy, the current state and the perspectives of social banking and social finance in the United States and Europe. It describes their place within the global economy, and the visions of their “global alliances” for the years to come. The book focuses on the basic mindset that gave birth to social banks about a century ago, and that still constitutes their main driving force in the age of globalization; and on the comparison of the current state of social banking in the United States and Europe. Since most social banks are found on both sides of the Atlantic, their interplay can be considered as crucial also for the world wide development of social banking and social finance.

The book aims to increase the financial literacy of students and of the average reader. Its 12 chapters can be used as 12 single lessons for college and university students and their teachers. Courses on social banking and social finance are being developed all over the world, especially in the United States and Europe, for example at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship of Oxford University and at the Center of Rethinking Capitalism of UC Santa Cruz. Civil society is also increasingly concerned with the topic, as more and more people begin to recognize the fundamental impact of the finance and banking sector on all aspects of contemporary life. This book is one of the first texts of its kind available in English.