Investment will be in restoring real capital to lay the foundations for a green, peaceful and equitable society.
I am pleased to announce that I have accepted the invitation to chair the Sustainability Committee for RE Equity Partners AB.
The company has embarked on an ambitious endeavour to work with investments that regenerate real capital – and when used in sustainable businesses they give impact investors an impact return as well as generating financial returns.
A group based in the Netherlands, called The Weather Makers, are rolling out an ambitious plan to turn the Sinai desert green. Apart from stabilising weather in the region and possibly an even wider area, the initiative hopes to bring livelihoods to the area, reducing the risk of conflicts among the troubled people who live in the area. The project literally has biblical proportions as it is the site of what ancient scripts refer to as the land of milk and honey.
This is dedicated to Story Talbot, also known as Medicine Story, who passed away last July, at the ripe old age of 89. Story had dedicated his life to passing on what he called the old ways, traditions and understandings from North American tribes on how to live in harmony with the earth, oneself and each other. It has taken a long time to gather myself to put down these words. Story’s influence on my life and thinking were so great, and his contribution to our development so profound that I just have to share my perspective.
Not crony capitalism, not raw capitalism, not capitalism in the hands of wrong people but capitalism itself is the cause of the environmental degradation and social misery we see around us. Capitalism offers the rules if you like, the players play by those rules, and the results are what we see. If I am going to say something this bold, I need to be really specific and present good arguments. Let me attempt that, but you will have to bear with me through some details. This is not rocket science, but the whole subject area has many branching ideas so you will need to look hard to see the path through the subject matter.
Kate Raworth’s Doughnut model of the way an economy should perform is excellent. But it needs an idea of how to control that economy so it performs to requirements. Enter the bath tub.
Kate Raworth has a wonderfully clear and simple concept – that we should arrange the way we run society on the principle that we do not exceed planetary boundaries – in our relation to nature – on one hand, and that we set things up to avoid people suffering and that everyone’s basic needs get fulfilled – the human dimension – on the other. She draws it like a doughnut.
In her excellent book, Doughnut Economics, Kate shows how this task is essentially one for the economy and a question for economics. Doughnut economics gives us a very clear set of requirements for how an economy should work. That immediately brings one to think of money, investments, taxes, banks businesses etc. And that is where the model needs a little help .
Some results from alpha testing of the Universal Basic Income simulation game
Together with the Swedish Sustainable Economy Foundation I am developing a Universal basic Income “Business Game“. The idea is to take a simplified, fictive country and play around with various aspects of UBI to learn by doing.
We are into the first alpha testing phase and have produced an overview dashboard to look into what sort of figure we are interested in following as the game progresses
The above run was a force run to see how raising taxes and lowering numbers in work looks in the system. As you see the state gets less to spend on services as income declines. Maybe not so interesting. The next run looks at raising UBI from under minimum standard and just raising VAT.
The second run added spending power of UBI takers to the dashboard. If you raise VAT you lower spending power. Interestingly – in the simplified model at least – you get MORE state income and the UBI takers do not get lowered VAT. This gives us a hint that it might be possible to raise UBI and Universal Basic Services, although the UBI eats away at the money available for social costs.
Modelling like this raises many detailed questions and it is a difficult task to make the game engine simple enough to handle in a game situation ( so that you learn basic principles) and complex enough to give a feeling of “real life” (so it feels authentic enough).
Let me know in the comments if there is any logic I am missing or any metric you want to see on the dashboard.