One last thing…

“Money should move slower”

Marco Visscher | October 2005 issue
What’s so fast about money?
“What isn’t? We think we’re managing money, but in fact, money is managing us. All investments are about how quickly you can get even more money in return. People want to be able to move their money to wherever they think they can expect profit even faster. Consider this: More than 2 trillion U.S. dollars circulate around the world every day.”
What’s wrong with that? That’s how our economies grow.
“What’s wrong is that there’s no connection between you and where your money is being invested. You may put your money on a mutual fund account, but the fund might invest in weapons trade, tobacco companies or car manufacturers. You may protest against the opening of a huge supermarket in your community, but chances are you’re investing in this company through your pension fund—simply because its portfolio manager feels compelled to include such a fast-growing company. Even socially responsible investment funds are compelled to this.”
How could money become slow?
“I don’t have all the answers. Here’s a question for you: What would happen if people were to invest 50 percent of their assets within 50 miles of where they live? It would turn things upside down, I believe. Instead of just thinking what would be the fastest way to get your money back—and more of it—you may be getting more inspired to buy local food or support small shops.”
Could this be done with new regulations?
“You know, I believe change begins with inspiration, not regulation. But if you think traffic-calming measures are a good way to slow down traffic passing through our neighbourhoods, we may start thinking it’s not totally farfetched to believe that fast money is just not capable of getting the right things done for a sustainable planet, and that it therefore needs some measures too.”

Are you an anti-speed warrior?

“Not at all! But I do believe we’ve passed the point of diminishing return. Looking back at the 20th century, scaling up and speeding up have been important drivers for progress. For this century, I hope disaggregating and slowing down would be the next two drivers. If we would introduce slow and local, it would make our communities, economies, lives and our planet much healthier.”
Woody Tasch is chairman and CEO of Investors’ Circle, a U.S. network of individuals who provide risk capital to early-stage companies that address social and environmental problems. Investors’ Circle organizes a National Conference and Venture Fair, November 1 to 3 at the Hyatt Regency Boston in Massachusetts. More information:

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