The great power of money is to enable the trade of things that have nothing to do with each other. However, this liquidity is also a barrier to its control. Whereas individuals try to get the control of their money back, banks maintain its liquidity.

The liquidity of money is a barrier to its control

Because money is liquid, it is the perfect tool for all kind of exchange but it makes its control difficult. It requires constant efforts from individuals: an accounting discipline, a permanent knowledge of how much money is left, and a great self-control to avoid letting money slip through their fingers.


To control money, individuals give a meaning to it
Such meaning comes from both the origin of money (which determines its usage) and its destination (which is the real use). The source, as well as the destination of money, slow down its flowing to compel it toward specific expenses. 
Hence people divide their money into several separated nest eggs. Some even put them in separate boxes: shopping, holidays, presents and rent.


Banks maintain the liquidity of money
Because their role is to facilitate exchanges, Banks build themsleves around the liquidity of money. By doing so, they relieved money of the meaning that individuals gave to it. 
The only purpose of banking products, payment methods and their tools is to get money flowing easily. 
For the banks, shopping money and holiday money are interchangeable.


Banks and the control of money

Slowing down the liquidity of money is a way for individuals to control it. What if banks really help them to control money?


Enquête sur les usages de l'argent

Banks and institutions share particular ideas of what money is and what people should do with it. These preconceived ideas drive banking products and their advice to people. These lessons are some conclusions from our study : Enquête sur les usages de l’argent.
However, the relationship between people and money isn’t obvious and deserves much deeper reflection. Do the perception of money and its real use match the banks’ assumptions?


The field research was conducted between July 20th and August 7th 2015, throughout 15 in-depth interviews. This panel was constituted of strongly different type of profiles in terms of age, life cycle, revenues and possessions, marital status or living areas.

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GUILLAUME MONTAGU - Anthropology & Strategy
After following a sociology and political anthropology research program at La Sorbonne, Guillaume has offered his social sciences skills to companies. He joined unknowns to lead researches and studies.

Social sciences assume that individuals have reasons to do what they do. It’s our role to understand and explain their behaviours.


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All icons used in visuals come from Creative Commons – Attribution (CC BY 3.0) 
Thanks to the authors : Kevin Augustine LO,  Mister Pixel,  Michael Thompson,  Bradley Ashburn,  Nicholas Menghini,  Nicky Knicky,  Aha-Soft, Martin Lebreton,  Rohith M S, Jessica Scott, Vineet Kumar Thakur, Thomas Helbig, parkjisun, Yazmin Alanis, Pablo Rozenberg, Rediffusion & Kenneth Von Alt.