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Make change happen
simultaneously shifting our paradigms on
- Paradigms and paradigm shifting…
Many individuals advocates for social change want to believe the finance does not matter. An Economics professor at Harvard told me as much, in so many words.
Others see the possibilities for effecting change by changing finance, but want to believe they can keep finance working exactly the way it is now working, but talk it into changing the values it is valuing.
Truth is, finance as it is being practiced today does not really matter to advocates for social change because it is designed to value the values it is valuing. Talk all you want, but traders are going to trade on price. That’s what traders do.
The hopeful insight that is being overlooked by so many is that traders trading on price is not the only way that finance can finance enterprise. In many cases, it isn’t even the right way. Not right for enterprise. Not right for society.
Finance financing enterprise the wrong way is a major contributing factor to all the great existential challenges we face today. For many of those challenges, it is a root cause. For all, it is point of inflection for positive change. If we can get finance to start finance enterprise the right way, many of our existential challenges will just fade away – or rather, be more easily and effectively resolved by advocates of social change.
Consider climate change.
The problem with climate change is Energy – how we generate the power we need to live the lives we live, by releasing fossilized carbon taken out of the atmosphere over millions through the accumulated effects of photosynthesis and fossilization back into the atmosphere through combustion of fossil fuels. And also Agriculture – the destruction of soil function through large scale mechanized ploughing, clear-cut lumbering and other land use practices that externalize the costs of caring for the planet onto the planet.
In both cases, the inflection problem is incumbency, and the self-interest in self-preservation of the entrenched bureaucracies for collaboratively co-creating surpluses of fuel, power, food, and many other associated artifacts of the way we live today.
The problem is that we don’t have other choices for living well, for collaboratively co-creating energy and food and other things. The problem is that the incumbent bureaucracies do not want us to choose those other choices. Their social contracts are at the height of popularity – they are at the top of their “S” curves – and they are using every bit of their considerable wealth, social power and political influence to keep themselves in that top spot, by keeping all competing choices from getting a proper start.
Except coal. Coal is a poster child for what happens when an incumbent bureaucracy feels itself fading away, but still has wealth and social power that it can wield to influence public policy. Coal is already losing popularity. Somewhat because of climate change, but mostly because natural gas is cheaper, better and more abundant. Still, climate is the threat that coal is using its wealth and social power to mobilize government against, blaming regulations for “killing” business. Regulation is not killing the coal business. Popular choice is.
Attacking these bureaucracies for their efforts at self-preservation is not a peaceful path forward. Finding effective ways to help them manage their fade is.
Wall Street, the current way finance is getting done today, is to built to manage this fade. Wall Street is created by design only to value Growth. If their is not Growth, on Wall Street, there is bankruptcy, or in modern lingo, painful “reorganizations”.
Energy is not the only problem. Agriculture also needs to change. But there, we face the same problem. There is no peaceful way to pay for the winding down of our existing, climate insensitive, energy and agriculture bureaucracies, while we will adaptively evolve new, sufficiently climate sensitive, energy and agriculture bureaucracies that more fit for our times.
Stewardship offers hope, if we want to manage a peaceful transition away for catastrophic climate change and towards peaceful climate constancy.
Stewardship is not designed for Growth. Stewardship is designed for Constancy.
If we can transition our energy and agricultural bureaucracies out of Securities Trading – which demands that they value Growth uber alles – and into Stewardship, we can engage with the new stewards of our energy and agriculture choices in rational discourse about about the need we now have to internalize the impacts of energy and agriculture on the planet, and to shift our practices to more sustainable methods.
One way we can do this is by creating fiduciary spaces as safe places for civic engagement with stewardship and enterprise for working out the details of these transitions, including how we are going to pay for them. The evergreen time-series partnership model for enterprise finance, that sees six different sources of capital each designed to value different values in enterprise at different points in the history of the flourish and fade of popular choice.
Stewardship can be the stabilizing influence on this process, holding existing problematic externalizing bureaucracies in trust, allowing them to continue to operate as new, more internalizing bureaucracies to get started and to grow; and also supporting existing externalizing bureaucracies in winding themselves down, as new internalizing bureaucracies ramp themselves up.