This article talks about the recent creation of Freedom Capital, an "impact investing" company that focuses on investing in weapons, fossil fuels and other noxious or high negative externality businesses. In the article they worry that Impact Investing will get sucked in to the "culture wars" vortex. Maybe. What is more troubling to me is that Impact Investing will get green washed.
Goldman Sachs recently bought Imprint Capital. This can be seen in one lens as exactly what we want because it is going mainstream. However, Impact Investing has grown recently largely on the merits of the expanded value proposition beyond immediate profit (but NOT in place of that profit). If this becomes mainstream then it is a filter financial "advisors" will need to apply in addition to the amount of profit they can make. Goldman Sachs is not motivated to make "impact" even if their clients are. If they can keep calling it "impact" while chasing profit that is exactly what they will do.
Now we have a very direct attack on the phrase "impact investing". What this does is enables Goldman to say, "well, we're not THAT!" and be righteous as the say it.
What do you think?
I wonder if this will spur some thinking about renaming "impact investing" into something more specifically trained on social and ecological good?
/ (not sure which account to point to) - any wisdom to share on this? ?
In 2012 Wendell Berry gave the Jefferson Lecture to the National Endowment of the Hummanities. I ran across this recently through pure serendipity. In this lecture he says many Brilliant things including the distinction between Boomers - those who relentlessly go wherever they can to achieve wealth - and Stickers - those who stay put for the love of place and community. He makes a compelling argument for affection as an economic principle.
Essentially, what he has written is the very best and most beautiful argument for "local" business.
"I will say, from my own belief and experience, that imagination thrives on contact, on tangible connection. For humans to have a responsible relationship to the world, they must imagine their places in it. To have a place, to live and belong in a place, to live from a place without destroying it, we must imagine it. By imagination we see it illuminated by its own unique character and by our love for it. By imagination we recognize with sympathy the fellow members, human and nonhuman, with whom we share our place. By that local experience we see the need to grant a sort of preemptive sympathy to all the fellow members, the neighbors, with whom we share the world. As imagination enables sympathy, sympathy enables affection. And it is in affection that we find the possibility of a neighborly, kind, and conserving economy.
Obviously there is some risk in making affection the pivot of an argument about economy. The charge will be made that affection is an emotion, merely “subjective,” and therefore that all affections are more or less equal: people may have affection for their children and their automobiles, their neighbors and their weapons. But the risk, I think, is only that affection is personal. If it is not personal, it is nothing; we don’t, at least, have to worry about governmental or corporate affection. And one of the endeavors of human cultures, from the beginning, has been to qualify and direct the influence of emotion. The word “affection” and the terms of value that cluster around it—love, care, sympathy, mercy, forbearance, respect, reverence—have histories and meanings that raise the issue of worth. We should, as our culture has warned us over and over again, give our affection to things that are true, just, and beautiful. When we give affection to things that are destructive, we are wrong. A large machine in a large, toxic, eroded cornfield is not, properly speaking, an object or a sign of affection."
Watch the lecture here: http://www.neh.gov/news/2012-jefferson-lecture-wendell-berry
Or read it here: http://www.neh.gov/about/awards/jefferson-lecture/wendell-e-berry-lecture
The Boomers and Stickers distinction is useful, and it describes what, as an outsider, I sense may be happening in the Bay Area right now with the flood of modern-day 49'ers looking for instant startup wealth. There is a disconnect there with the place that is there. I once read an accounting of just how biologically diverse that whole area was before the arrival of Europeans. But then there was the magic that happened in the 60s and so much more. All of that is still there, layers of culture that run deep, though they seem now to be increasingly covered by a layer of abstraction and alienation.
This is very helpful for me and I am sure I will borrow from it frequently. Thanks again!
I help networks and organizations to manage what matters. Success in a social sector organization is defined as progress toward solving problems. I will help your organization identify critical path work and implement systems that make that work easier whi...
So I wrote a blog about it. Like to read it? Here it goes...
I would argue that profit maximization does not reduce costs (and that is the central argument of my post). Through profit maximization negative externalities are created which increases cost on the broader community of stakeholders. This is the very center of what "good" business is. And finally, the fact that profits that have been recorded have fueled some benefits does not mean that greater benefit could not be achieved through a more equitable system.
My argument stands in direct opposition to giants like Milt Friedman however, the mea culpa of Alan Greenspan is a win in the regenerative economy's column.
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I can't help but read the title of this article as "Why Curious White People are Destined for the C-Suite". Curiosity is central to solving problems. If you need to be told that you also don't know that the purpose of a business is to solve problems.
This is a world that is desperate for disruption and if this article is to be beloeved all it will take is " leaders" that aren't self-important, know-it-alls.
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