Monday, November 2, 2009

Slow Money: A Fast Growing Idea

Slow Money is the name of a book, a movement, and an idea whose time has come. The subtitle of the book " investing as if food, farms and fertility mattered" explains the heart of the movement which is only about a year old, but which is going viral all over the world.

The principles of slow money are not about capitalism or communism but about common sense and basic morality. The idea of slowing money down means to not invest for a quick killing and maximum return for investors, but to invest for long tern goals and the good of both investment and investor. The movement asks three interesting questions in the principles section of its website:

  • What would the world be like if we invested 50% of our assets within 50 miles of where we live?
  • What if there were a new generation of companies that gave away 50% of their profits?
  • What if there were 50% more organic matter in our soil 50 years from now?

These questions were provocative enough to make me want to download the PDF outlining all the principles of the movement which you can do by clicking here.

How it Started

The Slow Money movement grew out of the slow food, buy local idea. From eating local and eschewing factory farms and agribusiness it is only one small step to changing the entire system by changing the way we view business, profit and investment. The Slow Money movement is putting its money where its mouth is by starting a seed money fund that will emphasize " nurture capitalism" funding local and small food enterprises, not as philanthropy, but as sensible investment in product, people, and the future.

Like most great concepts it is simple. Like most game-changing ideas it leaves you thinking " why didn't I think of that" and like many new ways of thinking, it will no doubt be met with ridicule and pessimism. The important thing is, given human nature, will it work? Only time will tell.

The world as we know it is on the verge of economic collapse. International financial institutions, governments and corporations are paddling like mad to keep us from going over the falls into oblivion. I say, keep an open mind and incorporate the idea of "nurture capitalism" into the economy. Maybe it is time to think outside the box? It's what we're best at here in America and Lord knows we need to re-invent ourselves.

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9 comments:

JamaGenie said...

Love it! The idea really isn't new, only forgotten. It's how things used to be done before the Wall Street Whiz Kids made the fast buck the priority over long-term sustainability.

Local has always been best. Due to a dollar changing hands many times in small transactions, omore money flows through the economy from purchasing local than by handing it to large, impersonal corporations who hang on to it or send it to their counterparts overseas and never return it to the people from which it came originally.

Certain ideas should never be discarded in the name of "progress" and Slow Money is one of them.

Susan said...

I'm in. Had an absolutely scary experience this past weekend when I went to the big, scary chain supermarket that I never go to. It was late, we were hungry: what can I tell you?

Anyway, my daughter and walked through the vegetable aisle and stared. It was all Frankenfood. The biggest, palest, unhealthiest cucumbers ever. Huge, colorless lettuce. Massive, firm, pink tomatoes. It wasn't food. It just wasn't.

We didn't buy. We waited and got some real food that was grown locally.

The entire concept of slow money is a great one. Another terrific read is "Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy". http://www.amazon.com/Right-Relationship-Building-Whole-Economy/dp/1576757625/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1257294932&sr=1-3

eatyourlawn said...

What a lovely idea! The slow movement has been the inspiration for so many sane, common sense ideals and it is great to see it's making it's way beyond the table to wall street.

As an owner of a small, locally based slow food business I have to say that from my experience there is a ton of support for what might seem like some to be a too warm and fuzzy to be true trend. I don't know how well ideals like slow money will scale up, but at a small scale they are working just fine and small is just fine with me. :)
I can't wait to read the book!

pinkpackrat said...

Thanks all for reading and commenting.

Jama-- yes I guess it is not a new idea, in fact we all grew up with the tortoise beating the hare in the long run. People just got greedy and arrogant and thought they could rewrite the laws of nature. Well, it's just not working anymore

Susan-- I am absolutely with you on supermarket veggies--very scary stuff and thanks for the book recommendation. I will absolutely read it-- this concept is soooooo important.

Eatyourlawn-- thanks for your input too. BTW I love love love your name. It says it all:-)

Hal said...

As a long-time financial activist, I jumped at the chance to go to the Slow Money conference in Santa Fe. How inspiring to be among farmers, community organizations, and green investment professionals. The local food movement needs to grow... fast, but it needs slow money to do this!

As other comments mentioned, there has already been a lot of work done to move money away from corporate agribiz and into communities. Natural Investments and others help people align their investments with their values. (www.naturalinvesting.com) We're excited to be working with Slow Money so that people can put their money where their food is!

Hal said...

As a long-time financial activist, I jumped at the chance to go to the Slow Money conference in Santa Fe. How inspiring to be among farmers, community organizations, and green investment professionals. The local food movement needs to grow... fast, but it needs slow money to do this!

As other comments mentioned, there has already been a lot of work done to move money away from corporate agribiz and into communities. Natural Investments and others help people align their investments with their values. (www.naturalinvesting.com) We're excited to be working with Slow Money so that people can put their money where their food is!

Jeremiah said...

After some months of attempting to raise money I am totally frustrated at being turned down by venture types that are only looking for the next Billion dollar deal. We are predicting $50M in 5 years and very profitable but are told we are too small, not enough of a growth curve.

Our focus is in food and agriculture and being regional and national not multi-national so we are seen as too short sighted.

It is great to hear that there are some minds out there that see that doing business locally has many benefits. Sending food an average of 1500 miles before it gets to a table or a mouth is not sustainable.

Soil quality is the basis for life.

Don't forget the fall of Rome was caused by the failure of food production.

Suzanne Frenette said...

The they people in the world seem to be consentrating on food and health care. Miss information is the only constant.
We need a sister movement in Canada.
Keep going take the control back to balance the power.
Ya!!!!

www.trustintheprocess.com

Orlando Awnings said...

Quality read that I stumbled upon a few years back. For some this is truly eye-opening and revealing. To others, it is just plain common sense laced with general logic. -Cala Bella