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Woody Tasch: Slow Money

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global oneness project Slow Money There are 2 aspects to the term slow money-- --the first one for people who have heard of slow food-- --they kind of immediately glom onto that part-- Woody Tasch - Point Reyes Station, California - Author, "Slow Money" --and slow food, for those who don't know, is a beautiful social movement that started in Italy about 20 years ago-- --in response to McDonald's opening in Rome. There's now about 85,000 people who belong to Slow Food International. It's an NGO that basically is promoting small-scale organic, artisan, heirloom-- --there's a whole series of nested values around biodiversity and food tradition-- --and kind of using food as a vehicle for reconnecting people to their communities and bioregions. It's a really beautiful movement. In the U.S.--I always hasten to add--it's just starting to really be understood in its full ramifications. In the U.S. it has tended to, unfortunately, be pigeonholed as a kind of a white tablecloth-- --little bit more elitist, people who have the money to buy food and can tell where their food came from, but it's a lot deeper than that. I think over the coming years that'll become clear in the United States. So slow money, if you just take that piece, is just the obvious how do we create capital flows that support that? It's one thing for a group of people who can afford to buy food in certain restaurants to do it-- --but the real challenge for us as a culture is to steer meaningful amounts of philanthropy and venture capital-- --and other forms of capital to support local food systems, small-scale, truly diversified-- --not false diversification--but truly diversity-promoting agriculture in this country. And the numbers--I won't rattle them off now unless you make me--but the numbers are rather astonishing. You're talking about 0.1% of this and 0.5% of that of budgets-- --that are going to anything remotely relating to small-scale sustainable agriculture in this country. We're still 99.99% invested in industrial agriculture at a very large scale. So that's all the slow food, slow money piece. The other part of the slow and money piece is really just the idea that the speed of capital is, by itself-- --above and beyond just the ramifications for food systems--a critical issue. And so if you look at things like the acceleration of--it's really across the board, but take one indication. In 1960 there were 3 million shares a day traded on the New York Stock Exchange--3 million with an "M." Today there are--depending on how you count--about 5 billion, so it's thousands of fold increase. During that same time, let's say, population has gone up 2½ times, let's say-- --and GDP has maybe gone up--actually, I should know this number, but let's just pick a number--10 times, let's say-- --that's probably close, maybe 15 times--but the rate of exchange has gone up thousands of times. So the speed of capital has--if you think of a nuclear explosion and you just imagine that going on capital-- --there's just been a proliferation of capital instruments, speed of capital-- --$3 trillion a day goes through currency markets-- --I think a couple of trillion dollars a day goes through fed wires. There's just many, many trillions of dollars a day zooming around the planet. So the idea of slow money in that context is just raising a much broader fiduciary question-- --which is if money is speeding around so fast, should we be surprised that we don't know what the hell it's doing-- --and that the complexity has gotten way out of control? So it's a much broader question than just food systems when you look at it that way. And another way of saying that a little more simply-- --is that the bifurcation of social purpose and so-called fiscal prudence is at the root of the problem. In other words, if our goal as a culture is to make as much money as we can so we have more to give away-- --and hopefully clean up the problems with the philanthropy, that may have made sense in the 20th century. You could argue that it did. But in the 21st century, that idea of just letting money go as fast as it can-- --taking some of the surplus and trying to clean up the problems, is no longer appropriate for the 21st century. We have to find a way to invest with much more realistic return expectations for the benefit of future generations. So you can see 2 big kind of parts of the slow money concept.

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 31 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 203
Posted by: global on Mar 23, 2009

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