Jed Emerson, 59, widely recognized in the impact investing community, recently published a new book, The Purpose of Capital: Elements of Impact, Financial Flows and Natural Being, that calls into question some of the fundamental precepts of the movement, the very underpinnings of capitalism.
Impact investors seek to solve social problems from poverty to climate change by making investments that will not only mitigate the ills but will provide a financial return.
He goes on to reject the notion that markets are amoral, objective and rational. Commenting on the book, he says, people who argue for the rational behavior of markets will quickly admit that they are moved principally by fear and greed. “Those to me are fundamentally social dynamics and issues.”
The book differs from Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas, which addresses some of the same themes. While Giridharadas offers a stirring critique of impact investing, social entrepreneurship and most other efforts to change the world, Emerson’s Purpose of Capital is more introspective. It is almost as if Emerson is talking through the issues for his own benefit as much as ours.
That is one of the lessons of the book that Emerson seems to have learned as much as shared. “I think the most important lesson is the need for us each to come into this process from a place of humility,” he said.
He’s chosen to apply that lesson to the promotion of the book, committing not to give any keynote speeches, choosing instead to only have discussions (like the one he had with me that you can watch in the player at the top of this article.)
Read the full article about impact investing by Api Podder at Your Mark On The World
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