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ERIC Number: EJ871043
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0955-2308
The Feeling's Mutual
Schuller, Tom
Adults Learning, v20 n5 p15 Jan 2009
Toxic mortgages are one of the causes of the current economic crisis. Where did they come from--apart from those spectacularly down-at-heel areas of American cities where loans for housing are peddled on a day-rate basis? One driver was the demutualisation of building societies, on the basis that, as banks, they would have access to the capital needed to move into the modern business world. What does this have to do with the Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning? Some readers may remember the idea of a "learning bank", floated in the Dearing Report on higher education. There were various models, but the basic idea was that the "bank" would allow potential learners to borrow and/or save for their learning, with contributions from employers, family members and so on. The idea of a learning mutual rather than a learning bank has several advantages--and not only because it escapes the general odium that banks are under at present. It can combine several functions. Historically, mutual societies grew from local roots, with a strong element of trust at their heart. This was underpinned by the fact that borrowers and lenders (and managers) were likely to encounter each other regularly--some difference from disembodied voices the other side of the world, which characterises what passes for service from many of the demutualised banks. Money was not the only commodity in the transactions. Similarly, one could think of learning mutuals as local operations that encourage people to pool finance, but also operate as meeting points where teachers and learners can trade or barter skills, and as a source of promotion, information, and guidance. The learning mutuals need not be geographically local. They could be built up around specific subjects or areas of interest. The functions would be to mobilise resources (human as well as material); to transcend the simplistic use of market mechanisms to link supply and demand; and to give the notion of entitlement a social and collective character.
National Institute of Adult Continuing Education. Renaissance House, 20 Princess Road West, Leicester, LE1 6TP, UK. Tel: +44-1162-044200; Fax: +44-1162-044262; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A