Evolve or Die

Illustration by Genna Wolkon

“Money Is the Root of All Evil”. I remember hearing it as a young boy but always thought, “if everyone is using it, how could it be true?” But now I have come to appreciate the unconscious evil in accumulating the paper mirage we so desperately desire called money. And ironically, the more you have the more you want, and the less you have the more you need. Whoever created it got exactly what they hoped for, a bunch of morons working for it as if it represents the higher vibrations of life like love, courage and energy. We must all realize now that it represents nothing more than a bunch of moronic humans using a simple paper, printed at will by the Wizard of Oz to distinguish life’s value.

I write this editorial from a tropical farm in Hawaii with food growing all around me. On one end, I must admit that Capitalism has treated me quite well. On the other end, I am fully aware that we must move on. We must figure out what we like about Capitalism and what we don’t like. Keep the likes, get rid of the dislikes and move on. Teach Capitalism in history class and no longer in our economic reality. Devise a new plan. A plan that is based on what is best for all the people, because the people will be carrying out the economic plan and the happier and healthier the people, the better our economic reality.

The change will come from each of us putting our individual entrepreneurial talents to work. We all think that the “Economy” is out there and I’m just sitting in my office. But if everyone just busted their hump working entreprenuerally out there, we wouldn’t have that disconnect. We’d understand that our economy is our reality, as opposed to percentages and numbers. The economy and our lives should be one and the same. We tend to allow the economy to be analyzed by government, economist, or financial analysts; yet as active participants in the economy, we are our economic reality. We are looking at it like it’s a school system. Its not a school system to be graded, its our lives, including the health and happiness of all those in our local community. We are all entrepreneurs. We all have something to give and create, yet we are looking to everyone else to do it or change it. The change will not come from government, political activists or wall street. It will come from each and everyone of us.

In our economic system, we the people are ignorantly enabling the system to increase our cost of living. If you have a bank account you are enabling the system. Plenty of the people “Occupying Wall Street” are enabling the financiers through their 401Ks, IRAs, or basic bank accounts. Wall Street and the rest of the financial sector is using that capital savings to invest and pay themselves handsomely in the process. I see nothing wrong with Wall Street acting like a used car salesman. Although they may not have the best reputation, the economy has a lot of used car salesman. We are not only all part of the problem, we are the problem. Each and everyone of us. Whether we are investing in gold that perpetuates strife in South Africa; or passively investing in golf course developments on critical farm land through our pension funds, we are the problem.

The most intelligent thing that Wall Street can do is to evolve itself based on a new decentralized financial system, as opposed to current Wall Street which is centralized. In a decentralized system, the money savings can be invested in the communities that it was originated in. Such a local system would consciously invest to produce both financial returns as well as lower living costs. And Wall Street employees could still be the active investors in that decentralized, local economic system, using many of the skills they have been taught. If Wall Street doesn’t see the writing on the wall that their time is up…that centralized banking has no profits left, they will die with the system. This was proven in the bailout. Just so we all understand, when placing a “bet”, there is no such thing as a hedge. Next time they will not be so LUCKY!

The biggest issue of the government is that they are supporting the enemies of a healthy economic future, because they are subsidizing things that are bad for the economy. We aren’t asking them to save the economy, we are only asking them to stop messing it up by subsidizing things like oil, financial service profits and supporting costly wars.

The greatest economists during the life of Capitalism knew that it would one day come to an end. Shumpeter new it, Say knew it, Hayek knew it and Marx knew it, to name just a few. In a nutshell, they knew as we now know the truth, that eating more of the earth every day does not constitute “economic growth” (i.e. GDP). And here we are, as Shumpeter termed it, creative destruction in action. I say it differently, that “The Great Depression” is finally coming to an end and a new, more efficient system bustling with entrepreneurial creativity to produce lower and lower living costs has been born. The protestors are a sign of things to come. The system is in its final inning. Evolve or Die!

Local Funds Coming Soon!

It sure feels like its high time to mix things up. Federal, State and Municipal governments are failing. Investment Ponzi Schemes are becoming more popular in the digital investment world. And our own Federal Government is using one credit card to pay off another. Isn’t it time we made things a bit simpler, less stressful, more playful, and have work available for all that want it?

What if, we the people, tried something new, brand new. An original plan that not only invested to secure our savings, but also made investments to positively impact the quality of our own lives. What I am suggesting is we organize our investment savings differently.

Please consider the possibilities of an all new Local Investment Fund. A Local Investment Fund will create investment return by acquiring local real estate, as well as building and generating wind and solar energy. The Local Fund would even lend money to a few local businesses that had staying and/or growing power. The Fund would be a community-minded landlord, utility, and bank, all-in-one; formed by local residents to invest in their own Counties and communities. The investments would help stabilize living costs, as well as grow the local economy and generate a strong dividend yield to its local investors.

A Local Investment Fund will be the first of its kind to provide both an offensive and a defensive engine to the local economy. For example, if the local savings and investment community owned the real estate leased by the local coffee shop or brew pub, wouldn’t it think twice about raising their rents? Or said differently, wouldn’t such a rent rise just equate to a more expensive cup of coffee or draft beer for that local resident investor? Wouldn’t the investor be in effect, raising the rent on itself? The same balanced investment characteristics are true for local renewable energy investments as well.

The new strategy would make investments in our lifestyles, in the here and now, contrary to some unknown place and time like in “retirement”. I personally, don’t want to think about the future anymore. I want to invest in the now. To invest to organize our economies with minimal commutes, and educate our communities through the act of sustainability. To invest until we discover a way to lower our energy costs while minimizing our impact on the land that feeds us every day.

Could you imagine the implications of this new way of organizing our economy? Entire Counties would go completely off-the-grid. Local jobs would be humming with billions of dollars being directly pumped into the local markets, businesses and economies. Local innovation would sky-rocket as new ideas would flood the streets. Local tax revenues would also rise, bolstering the desperate city coffers.

Local Funds are the true contrarian play in today’s most finicky global economy. The people of each community have to be the ones to change the direction of their economy by investing in their own land, in their own energy, and in their own people; with their own savings.