Small silhouette of Doug Wolkon WELCOME TO PLURANOMICS, THE ECONOMICS OF MANY.

Land

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.

Localism: County Style

Just got back to Kauai after a 2-month trip to the U.S. Mainland. I had not been back to the Mainland but for a few weeks over the past year. In any case, there was one idea that I could not drop throughout my 2-month economic study, during which time I visited several Counties, including 12 days in Broward County, FL;  13 days in Palm Beach County, FL;  a few days in Westchester County, NY;  10 days in Fairfield County, CT;  5 days in Suffolk County, MA (Boston);  and 6 days in Jefferson County, CO;  and finally back to Kauai County, HI.

The idea was a Local Investment Fund, with all the power and might of a national or international private equity fund; but funded by the residents of the County and for the benefit of the County. The Fund would be investing in high-yield real estate and renewable energy assets that a local investor could touch and feel as opposed to the digital or virtual investment world where most of us currently have all our investment eggs.

Jungle Cottage

“Counties!”  I first realized it while staying in my jungle cottage within the concrete jungle of Downtown Ft. Lauderdale. Yes, it would be the Counties that would lead America through the Economic Revolution; the Counties, who are unencumbered by the high debts and expenses of our other authorities including towns, cities, states, and federal governments. Huh, Counties. What in the world are you talking about?

Lets use my former, Fairfield County, CT, which maybe the wealthiest County in America – a place where many billionaires and thousands of millionaires call home; Say that the residents (rich and poor) of Fairfield County allocated just 5-10% of their savings towards a local investment fund, which invested in local assets that an investor can touch and feel. This strategy would be executed at a time when real estate is having a fire sale. First, with billions and billions of dollars to invest, such an investment fund would ignite the Fairfield County economy, spurring job growth, creating competition in the energy markets, and replacing out of town or absentee landlords with a locally-minded investor fund.

As I travelled from County to County, my vision only became clearer in my mind. This will be the first of many blog posts on this topic among others, as this Mainland trip certainly got my juices flowing. With bond yields rising and inflation in the air, the time is now for Localism to take hold – County Style!


In a land called…

In a land called Nacirema, things are a bit backward from what you might expect.

Imagine walking down the street mid-day in Nacirema and a complete stranger stops and asks you to give him your hard-earned money. Not just all the money in your pocket, but all your life’s savings. He introduces himself as the “money-keeper” of the Nacirema tribe and promises you that he’ll watch over your money. He cannot tell you exactly where that is for security purposes and although you can’t see or touch the money once you give it to him, you are assured it will be safe. Since you’ve never met this person before in your life, he pulls out a small piece of paper and writes down three little letters “I.O.U.” to ensure you that he is good for it, and then asks you to sign it. He says you can present this piece of paper to him every time you want some of the money back or to give him more of your savings in the future.  He further reassures you that he has possession of many, many Naricema people’s hard-earned money and again promises that your money is safe in his hands.

“This is crazy” would be an honest first reaction. How could anyone in their right mind give their life savings to a complete stranger? But as mentioned, everything is backwards in Nacirema, and if you flip the letters around you’ll learn that Nacirema backwards spells American. In America this complete stranger is better known as a “bank”. But unlike in Nacirema, we do not even get the privelege to meet this stranger on the street. However, we somehow accept this mysterious “bank” entity as being safe and secure, just because…

Perhaps it is time we reconsider this false notion by trusting and investing our money in ourselves and our communities so as to protect the very livelihood we’ve worked so hard to attain. Or would that be considered “crazy”?

What Causes Inflation?

What causes the prices to go up and real value to go down? To understand what causes inflation, visualize using only one economic variable – LAND; because ALL material things we buy or use originate from the land.

The land may change form, but the wooden floor you stand on (trees), the fork you hold (metals), the road you drive on (asphalt, derived from oil), the T-shirt you wear (cotton plant), the boat you sail (fiberglass, from sand or silica), and the food you eat are all originally derived from the land.

Continued »