People are talking about . . .

. . .

A Marshall Plan for reconstructing climate,

energy, community, and the economy,

using retirement, the university, and philanthropy

Simultaneously fixing

the climate system,

the retirement system, and

the financial system

while adaptively evolving new functionality for the university system

and new roles for government, philanthropy and impact investing within the next new form of capitalism for creating more by design

people & ideas
new form of finance
new form of financier

designing a new conversation
about designing a managed transition
to a new energy & climate prosperity

How are we going to pay for it?

the relationship between climate and energy is the essence of the climate debate

According to climate science, patterns of wind, temperature and precipitation in different places on earth are a function of the temperature of the oceans, and ocean temperatures are a function of the thermodynamic balance between the earth and the universe.

The earth itself is a low-temperature thermonuclear reactor. It is molten at its core.  Also it is constantly radiating heat out into the vast, empty coldness of space.

The sun is a high-temperature thermonuclear reactor, gaseous through and through, that radiates heat out into the solar system, and beyond into space. Earth is bathed in radiation from the sun.

The thermodynamic balance on earth, between radiant cooling and solar insolation, sets the climatic conditions on earth These determine the earth’s and its hospitability to people, and to the plants on which we, the people,  depend for energy and nutrients. Small changes in this thermodynamic balance can have big impacts on our ability to grow the grains on which our civilization is based, in the quantities required to sustain ourselves in our billions.

Carbon is the thermostat that sets this thermodynamic balance.  More carbon in our sky chemistry keeps energy from escaping the earth and dissipating into space. The earth heats up.  Less carbon allows more energy to escape. The earth cools off.  Just the right amount of carbon, and earth becomes a paradise for people, filled with light, warmth and possibility.

fire is the first technology

There are a number of things that make people different from all the other animals that walk upon the surface of the earth.

  1. Our opposable thumb, that allows us to form a power grip, for grasping, wielding and throwing.
  2. Our upright stance, the frees our hands for activities other than locomotion.
  3. Stereoscopic vision and the ability to perceive depth and distance.
  4. A larynx that lets us make sounds that become language.
  5. Our cognitive capacity to learn, to create and to collaborate.
  6. Our ability to make and control fire.

Fire is energy. By controlling fire, we control energy. That gives us power. Power to create civilization, to take the world about us as we find it, and change it to be more a way we choose it to be. Light, instead of dark. Warm, instead of cold. Sheltered, instead of open. Clean, instead of cluttered. Pleasant. Comfortable. Accommodating. Convenient. Abundant. Reliable. Sustainable.

And changing.  Nature itself is always changing, but Civilization changes much faster than Nature. Civilization interacts with Nature, making changes by choice that make other changes, in consequence.  Life in a State of Nature may be, in the famous words of English Enlightenment Philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, “nasty, brutish and short”. It is also pretty much always the same. Life in Civilization is always changing.

We make some changes by choice. These create other changes, in consequence. So, then we need to make more changes, to adapt to those consequences.

And so on. Open-ended. Ongoing. Self-perpetuating. Evergreen.

Technology is the practical knowledge of how the world about us works> We use that knowledge to make the changes we need to make to keep our civilized way of living in happy balance with the uncivilized world out of which we make our civilization.

Technology requires a concentration of effort. It produces a surplus of artifacts, in the anthropological meaning of the word as “works of human hands”. We use these artifacts of our technology – these works of our own hands –  to create civilization out of the uncivilized world around us. When artifacts of technology are accepted by others as useful to them in building and maintaining their own experiences of being civilized, wealth is created through enterprise. Some of us concentrate our efforts on one technology. Others concentrate on others. Together, we create of wealth of artifacts that we can all use, cooperatively and collaboratively, to build and sustain the civilized way of living that we know and choose.

With enterprise comes sharing, through exchange. I share with you some of the surplus of artifacts that I create through the technology I concentrate my efforts on, in exchange for some of the surplus of artifacts you create through the technology you concentrate your efforts on. Through exchange we are able to do more work together – and build a more civilized way of living individually – than either of us could ever hope to enjoy if we each lived entirely alone, and did not share.

This is the economy.

It is the process by which we build and maintain a civilized way of living, through specialization and exchange.

finance is how society chooses its future

If climate science has it right, we have to stop releasing fossilized carbon into our sky chemistry through the combustion of coal, oil & natural gas to generate the energy we use to light our homes and power our economy.

Maybe not stop, entirely, but cut back, transformatively.

For hundreds of millions of years, Nature has been slowly been taking carbon out of our sky chemistry through the processes of photosynthesis and fossilization.  Through photosynthesis, as we all know, plants take energy from the sun and trap it inside chemical bonds between atoms of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen to form carbohyrates. Carbohydrates are carbon-based solar batteries that are the source of energy that powers all animal life on earth, including our own.  Through fossilization, carbohydrates that get buried under the earth, get transformed under pressure over many millions of years, into the hydrocarbons that we know as coal, oil and natural gas.  Over hundreds of millions of years, vast quantities of carbon have been taken out of the earth’s atmosphere, through photosynthesis, and stored underground, through fossilization, to bring about the current point of thermodynamic balance between the earth and the universe that gives us temperate climates and places where people can prosper.

In a little more than 200 years, people have released so much of that fossilized carbon back out into our sky chemistry, through the combustion of coal, oil & natural gas to light our homes and power of our economy, that we are rapidly approaching a point where climate will change in ways that are decidedly adverse to people prospering.

What are we going to do?

We have this choice. One consequence of our fossilized carbon fueled prosperity of the last 200 years is that we have learned a lot about energy. We now know about other chemical processes that can capture the energy from the sun and change it into electricity, through photoelectric cells that are functionally analogous to photosynthetic cells. We know that solar insolation heats the earth, unevenly, causing air to move thermodynamically – as wind. Another way the energy from the sun is available to us on earth.  We can harness the wind to spin turbines and create electricity.  We also know that winds blowing across the vast expanses of the sea puts the water into motion, creating waves. Can we capture the solar energy stored in ocean waves to make electricity?  We know that the earth is hot at its core, and releases heat out into space at a constant rate. Can we capture some of that heat, and covert it to human uses, before it continues out into the universe?  What about the process of photosynthesis itself? Can we grow crops to create energy in useful forms, as well as food we like to eat?

The point is this. The civilization we built on the combustion of fossilized carbon has evolved to the point where we new have many different technologies available through which we can continue to harness the energy about us to do the work we want to do to build the civilized way of living we choose to live.

What choice will we make? How will we make it?

We have seen that civilization is made and sustained through specialization and exchange.  We have seen that specialization and exchange are organized through enterprise. We have seen that enterprise concentrates the efforts of a few on creating a surplus of artifacts of technology that it exchanges with others for a share in the surpluses others create through their own enterprising concentrations of effort.

Enterprise is organized by enterprising individuals, who have an idea for doing work that others will like enough to pay them for, and gather the resources required to execute that work, at scale. Enterprise needs money to aggregate its resources.

When enterprise needs money, finance provides it.

Finance is how society decides which ideas for creating artifacts that change our world can, should and will be expressed through enterprise.

Finance operates always in the same two movements.

  1. It aggregates small surpluses saved by individuals living within an economy.
  2. It deploys those aggregations to sponsor enterprises to evolve that economy, as things change, and people adapt.

We are taught today to conceive of Finance as one monolithic and mysterious system of money, banking and securities trading. The Wall Street system. Confusion is rife within this conception of finance. Much of this confusion is created by the common convention of calling this conception of finance Capitalism, and asserting that this Capitalism is somehow existentially the opposite of other forms of -isms that are not clearly defined, but maybe can be grouped together for convience under the rubric of Statism.

The difference between Statism and Capitalism is real. The existential threat that one ism presents to the other is greatly exaggerated.

A less confusing conception of finance sees Statism and Capitalism as two different technologies for financial decision-making, each purpose-built to value the values it values, and to choose enterprise according to the logic of those values that it is built to value.

Some may object to calling the isms a technology. It is common to equate technology with gizmos and gadgets.  We use “technology” more broadly, to refer to practical knowledge of how to do work.  Sometimes the knowledge and work of a technology gets expressed in a device or machine. Other times, it is a human system of disciplined decision making. Financing technologies are disciplined decision-making systems.

Capitalism has laid claim to being one particular financing decision-making system. It may also be used to refer or point to all the different forms of financing decision-making that a civilization may choose to use, all the different capitalisms available to any given society for choosing which ideas for making prosperous adaptations to life’s constant changes can, should and will be evolved through enterprises of different kinds.

To find clarity, we need to break with custom.

It is not customary to talk about their being multiple forms of capitalism, but the customary way of talking about capitalism today is confusing.

A new way of conceiving of finance as a system of capitalisms brings clarity where the conventional way breeds confusion, which leads to contention and conflict. Not harmony.

To build this conception, let’s start with a question. We can use the question of energy and climate, and the possibility that we can and should be making new choices for how we harness energy and to light up the darkness, and drive the machinery of our economy and prosperity.

How are we going to decide?

How are we going to pay for it?

That is a question to which Finance alone can provide an answer, and Finance today offers us these six choices.

  1. find some rich people to pay for it
  2. take up a collection
  3. tax and spend
  4. save and lend
  5. boom and bust
  6. none of the above

The first form of finance, and the first of the capitalisms, is the kind of social consensus building that happens within families and among friends. This is the form that informed the very earliest human economies of tribal societies prospering at subsistence levels through fishing, hunting, gathering and small-scale farming.  This system is purpose-built to value the well-being of the extended family unit and its continuity across the generations. It continues today at the level of family wealth and networks of friends who are connected by bonds of blood, kinship and personal caring.  Let’s call this Family & Friends.

With the invention of grain agriculture, much larger populations could come together to form larger economies and wealthier societies.  Coordination become more important than consensus decision-making, and a centralized authority evolved in the temples that housed the surpluses of grain, inhabited by priests who spoke to the gods. A primary function of these priests was the keeping of the calendars that predicted the changing of the seasons and synchronized the planting and the harvesting.  Wealth became a surplus of grain. This wealth was gathered in the temple, and deployed by its priests.  Choices made by the priests needed to be what was right for all, and often came out dressed as expressions of the will of the gods.  This system continues into modern times in the form of religious organizations that gather from many and distribute to the needy, and also in the modern invention of philanthropy, and giving because it is right.  Let’s call this Church & Charity.

Surpluses of grain supported surpluses of people, beyond those who were needed to work the fields or populate the temples.  A surplus of people led to a diversity of crafts, as people figured out different ways in which to make life better for themselves and others.  Diversity of craft brings more wealth, but also less unity of purpose.  Makers of things do not organize their time by the rhythms of the harvest, and do not need a common place in which to share their surpluses.  These can be stored in the place where they are made.  The power of the temple is not sufficient to unify the activities of a large and diverse population of farmers and craftspeople. The temple becomes a palace, and the king evolves to organize the choices of a diverse population of people who are bound together in some ways, and set apart in others.  The king values peace in the kingdom, and make choices to increase the prosperity of all.  This system continues to this day as government that aggregates the common wealth through taxes that its spends on public works that establish and perpetuate conditions of peace and prosperity within the population, generally.  This is the Statism to which the conventional concept of Capitalism often sets itself up in an exaggerated crisis of existential opposition.  A moment’s reflection will show this is not so.  Instead of Statism, let’s call this system Taxing & Spending.

An original function of the kingdom included the keeping of the coinage. A king’s coin was only accepted within the king’s realm.  Transactions between kingdoms required a more universal means of exchange.  The system we still know as banking evolved to equalize the coinage of different kings (currency exchange remains an important function of the modern banking system), and also to lend money to aristocrats rich in lands but not in coin, and also to merchants engaged in trade.  These banks aggregate the money surpluses of people, holding deposits for safekeeping. They use these deposits to make loans to both public (governmental/aristocratic) and private enterprise. This function continues today, as Banking & Credit.

Banks make loans that need to be repaid. They lend money against physical assets (known as collateral) that could be turned into money, but which the holders of those assets do not wish to sell.  Borrowing from a bank lets them keep those physical assets, as long as they find a way to generate the money with which to repay the loan.  Every loan is made against a portion of the value of collateral, because experience has proven that assets sold under a forced sale rarely realize the same price they might fetch given more time to find the right buyer and negotiate the right price.  This value remaining is sometimes referred to as equity.  Every enterprise needs equity, which means, it needs more money than it can borrow.  Enterprise operating at industrial scale needs industrial sized equity, in addition to industrial sized debt.

The system we now have that calls itself Capitalism (as if there were no other ways for enterprise to raise capital) is purpose-built (in the 19th Century) to supply industrial sized equity to industrial enterprises, like railroads and factories.  Technically, it is a system for raising equity by selling securities derived from enterprise into a market in which buyers and sellers actively buy and sell securities. It is a system that is purpose-built to finance speculation on growth in future valuation.  It is a system that promises growth, but actually delivers booms that always, eventually, go bust (because every boom is really a bust that has not happened yet). Let’s call this system Boom and Bust.

Which of these financial decision-making systems can we use to pay for the transition to new energy choices we need to make if we want to proactively preempt confrontation with catastrophic climate change caused by the combustion of fossilized carbon to power our industrial and post-industrial civilization on a global scale?

The answer is, None of the above.

  1. Family & Friends are not equal to the scale of the work that needs to be done.
  2. Church & Charity are not fit for the purpose of financing profit-making new energy enterprises.
  3. Taxing & Spending struggles to muster the political will needed to overcome inertial resistance from vested interests.
  4. Saving & Lending cannot provide the equity required to build out our new energy enterprises.
  5. Boom & Bust will not finance a boom in new energy without first crashing into a bust in current energy choices.

What are we to do?

We can risk crashing in to catastrophic climate change, but why take that chance?

To finance the transition to a new energy future without first experiencing a climate bust (this is the great conundrum about climate change: it is the climate that is going bust, not the energy system; but we need to transform the energy system to avoid a climate bust), we need a new form of finance that is purpose-built to provide equity capital to enterprise at industrial scale in a global economy, and that is also built to invest in current cash flows that will flow for a time from conventional energy choices and overtime will be transformed into cash flows that flow from new energy choices.

Cash flow is happiness for enterprise, whether that enterprise is in the carbon-fuels business, the new energy business, the real estate business or any other business. Cash flow will also be happiness for the enterprises we need to organize to manage an orderly transition from a fossilized carbon energy past to a new energy future. In the early days of such enterprise, the happiness of cash flow will flow from continued delivery of fossilized carbon energy to the economy, but over time that happiness will come less and less from fossil carbon, and more and more from new energy technologies.

We need a new form of finance and a new form of financier to pay for a managed transition to an energy future that does not carry with it the risk of crashing into catastrophic climate change.

We have the form of finance that we need.  It is the proven reliable cash flow sharing method that is the standard way in which institutional investors finance large scale real estate developments today

We also have the new form of financier that we also need. This is that subset of institutional investors themselves invested with discretionary authority over other people’s money and a fiduciary duty to continue. These include retirement system pension funds, university endowments and endowed philanthropies. We call them superfiduciaries because they are fiduciaries of society’s shared savings set aside for social benefit

All superfiduciaries are institutional investors, but not all institutional investors are superfiduciaries

Many institutional investors – like mutual funds and other portfolio managers – are paid professional securities traders who are paid to trade specified classes of securities within specified securities trading markets. They have limited discretion to pick which securities to buy, sell or hold when, but they have a contractual obligation to stay with the trading strategy they specified when they organized their fund. They are not fiduciaries. They are hired help.

True fiduciaries that we call superfiduciaries are not committed to any one trading strategy or even limited to trading as a strategy

In fact up until 1972, superfiduciaries were prohibited from trading. It was against the law.

This is the law that require fiduciaries to be prudence in their exercise of discretion over the other people’s money that is entrusted to their good judgement. Common law and common sense have recognized for hundreds of years that it is not prudent to speculate with other people’s money.  The problem is not with speculation. The problem is with other people’s money. Something gets lost in the calculation of risk when it is not us who bear the burden of that risk.  So, the law has been and still is that a fiduciary cannot speculation with the other people’s  money that is entrusted to their good judgement.

Trading in securities is the very definition of speculation. Look it up. It’s in the dictionary. The Wall Street system is purpose-built to finance speculation on new technologies, new enterprises and a new prosperity.  This is a good thing.  The creative process is fraught with risk.  Our present prosperity is the consequence of people in the past taking a chance on something new.  Our future prosperity will be the consequence of the chances we are taking today. Wall Street gives us all a chance to take our chance, and a way to manage the risk that we are wrong. We can get out.

Speculation is not the only way of managing the risks of creating our future. We can also create our future by design, and manage risk through collaborative co-creation through designing conversations.

As individuals, we cannot really do this.  It takes more than we really have to give. More size. More time. More purpose. More resources.

Superfiduciaries have more size. They have more time. They have more purpose. They have the resources required to support conversations about creating a future of more that is also better, by design.

They can’t do this alone.

They can’t speculate alone, either. The Wall Street system is a massive configuration of knowledge and expertise to support superfiduciaries in speculating with our money, about our future.

We need to build another system, a different system, a system as large and powerfully supportive as the Wall Street system, but not to speculate. To negotiate.

Evergreen, we believe, can be the core of that system.

the process begins with individuals who have ideas

The system we need to build to support our superfiduciaries in negotiating our future begins with individuals who see a change as an opportunity to create a satisfying and empowering adaptation to that change.

it takes a village to build an enterprise

Managing the transition to a new energy economy

Purposefully winding down climate and community degenerating coal mining and combustion for baseload power generation as we simultaneously ramp up climate and community regenerating engineered geothermal heat mining for baseload power generation

New power. New prosperity.

The same cash flows.

Adding new choices for climate conscious energy

Providing build-out-take-out financing for research, development and deployment of new energy choices as an effective endgame strategy on climate change, in partnership with community, philanthropy, government and Impact Investors

Projects that set the pattern for an evergreen superfiduciary funded transition to a new energy future of more that is created by design

Because finance has to finance something

Building fiduciary spaces

Because finance has to happen somewhere

In evergreen, we see every technology operating at scale operating within an eco-system of co-creatively collaborative people and places of equivalent scale.

Our own evergreen superfiduciary cash flow waterfall investing technology will be no different. A most important


Macro Projects
Macro Centers

Research Institutes