I am at a true loss to understand the problem some folks seem to have with having money or resources or wealth or whatever you want to call it. I never considered having money an evil in itself - but I do believe the LOVE
of money is the root of all evil. There is a difference.
I believe capitalism and markets of barter and exchange are a natural condition that occurs amongst humans, and I think free and open markets eventually do more good than harm. I will say I truly feel that we should walk carefully to be sure that unfettered capitalism doesn't exploit the unwitting, but I also believe that true free markets take care of that abuse over time.
But I do get a little uneasy about the people who tell me "I DETEST the free market," or "I oppose globalization without reservation," mostly because I don't think these types of folks ever understood the way an open market works, or what the bogeyman of "globalization" has already actually accomplished in the way of raising living standards in poorer countries. All they see is an image of a fat-cat making money and they get to act out their knee-jerk finger-wagging routine where all profit is evil and is the is root of all war and misery all the way back to the cavemen.
I disagree and I believe very strongly that there is another approach and I have been doing it for a long time myself.
Why not marry the forces inherent in the "market" to your worldview? By utilizing the market itself you can direct the market to accomplish the things you deem to be important.
If you reject the function of the marketplace just out-of-hand you simply close a door to one entire avenue that can be used as a means of change. True, the way you are now you get to sulk in window-seats of greasy restaurants and act the misunderstood rebel, which is kind of satisfying in a black-and-white movie kind of way - but this doesn't get anything actually accomplished.
If you read Marx or Proudhon
or whoever by candlelight instead of by a lamp just so you can deny the power companies your money - all you get is bad eyesight. Nobody cares. Property isn't theft - property is property. Redistributing my
property is theft. Get my view of things? :-D
So I would like to introduce you all to a concept whereby you get to apply your beliefs to the marketplace in a real
effort to make a difference.
Here are two investments I am currently holding personally (Please note that this is just a generalized information article. I am not an agent of any company listed here, nor am I reimbursed, nor am I saying these are automatically going to make you lots of money):
PaxWorld Mutual Funds
was started up during the Viet Nam era by a group of anti-war ministers who didn't feel right about investing in companies that made napalm. Pretty simple. This was an SRI (Socially Responsible Investments) before the term SRI existed. A Quaker actually runs one of the funds! Well I'll be!! As a matter of fact, this fund has ads in Friends Journal regularly. Go figure! They won't invest in companies that engage child labor internationally, and they will
invest in community development banks in our cities.
And speaking of community development banks, check out one of my long-standing favorites, the Chicago Community Loan Fund
. This is essentially a loaning institution that offers below-market rates to fledgling "inner city" start-ups that otherwise would not be able to qualify for a loan at the big banks downtown. If you visit this site, you will notice it began with a modest $200,000 in assets just over 12 years ago and is now funded to over $10,000,000 - and I am very proud to say I was there in the early 90s.
But that's right - and no apologies - I intend to make money here. Money is useful. It is ok to have it so long as having it isn't the whole deal. Sorry to have to say this, but we all need money. Gasp! We need money so that - if nothing else - we don't become a burden to our kids when we are old. And my intention is plain. It is just that you can do that and have it work for the right things too. And this, to me, makes more sense than rejecting the realities of the situation in some (what I feel is a) misguided clinging to a principle I'm not exactly sure is really in
the Bible to begin with.
Interested in "green" investing? Try these guys
. Need a clearinghouse for this kind of information or want to learn more? Go here
. Or are you one of those limousine liberals who have money out the ying/yang already and are just a poor little rich boy who is clueless about this stuff but you know you don't like Republicans? If that's you - go see some Quaker friends of mine
, and they will help you manage your estate - for cry eye.
Again let me say - I have no vested interest in this, and I am telling you I have some finances in the first two instruments mentioned. This is FYI only. Always read the prospectus and do your "due diligence" before putting Mommy and Daddy's money any place. Ok?
There is an old saying at work here: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him the rest of his life. I say let's invest in people and things that improve conditions, and if we make money at it as well - what's the problem?