What is it to invest?
One of the foundational practices in Syntropic World is to return to source whenever we are considering a problem, untangling an issue or seeking to find a solution to something.
This includes understanding history, the birth of ideas and tools, and the etymological roots of words.
At Syntropic World we do not apologise for the need for a new language and worldview for the more beautiful world we sense is possible. One of the reasons new language is required is that it constructs possibility uncontaminated from the etymological roots of our current common words.
To invest, from 16th century Latin, investire, is to clothe in, to cover, to surround, to dress.
The morphing of the word invest to mean to use money to create profit happened in the early 1600’s when Queen Elizabeth 1 was supporting the origins and growth of the East India Company – colonising India for the profitable gain of the few. Investment went hand in hand with the creation of the limited liability corporation. Wealthy people could invest in the ships, and if they returned – which took about two years – profit of the cargo. If, however, the ships were lost at sea, the investors had zero liability to the sailors or the sailor’s families. The sailors, the very ones who risked their lives, were excluded from any equation of profit. This construct, the Limited Liability Corporation, is the foundation of wealth inequality, and the ability to accumulate great wealth through avoiding any form of liability/responsibility for what the company does. It has been finagled into incredibly powerful forms to make some people extremely wealthy. (To place a Limited Liability structure over an enterprise that seeks to do significant things to change our current wealth inequality system might infect the very idea and intention we hold – accidentally, inadvertently, and quite naively. Hence a commitment of Syntropic World is to explore new legal codes that hold accountability and responsibility as essential to good business.)
Possibly borrowing from the Italian investire (13th Century) to invest poses that we give one’s capital new form.
To invest – to give our capital new form, speaks to something deeply Syntropic. The refusal to be captured by a monoculture of money, where money is the arbiter of value, the measure, the thing we seek to reduce all value to.
Imagine if we refused to reduce everything to the measure of money? Imagine if money was a small subset of value exchange, a useful artefact for honouring value exchange across large distances, or to create a bridge between multiple expressions of value? Imagine if we held some experiences – the birth of a child – the shared moments of intimacy and beauty – in the very form of their experience – giving the experience a value and recognition that was never to be converted to a dollar equivalent? Imagine as well if we including the ability to honour these experiences in any and all measures we might use to tell the story of humanities success or losses?
Love, care, compassion, long term thinking, joy, kindness, gratitude…on the balance sheet? Not as secondary items, but given equal status that we currently give the dollar.
But what of interest? A return on your investment? The initial historical collateral was animals – cows, goats and other stock – held until the initial investment was returned. By the return date these animals were likely to have born off-spring, kinder – in kind – which was the first form of ‘interest’. Interest was a natural consequence of the retained value as collateral protection, multiplying.
Usury is to charge interest uncoupled from the relational investment. In other words, to demand interest regardless of the natural growth occurring. Usury asks us to be in a debt relationship = no relationship between the investor and the person creating value. A credit based relationship is one where the investor and the person deploying the investment are in close relationship. There is a mutual opportunity for an increased value to be gained by all parties in so many more domains than money.
Our legal codes and financial instruments have become so uncoupled from their origins, they are unrecognisable.
Value is created when we provide services and products that are valued. Intrinsic value is inherent in every life. The problem is our current economic system denies the possible expression of intrinsic value, seeking instead to turn intrinsic value into a contortionist to fit a model that serves the few.
To be able to express our value in multiple dimensions, to never limit our value offering to a reductionist impulse of money only, to be able to invest in multiple ways, money being one of them – and get a return on investment also in multiple domains, through supported credit based relationships, rather than the uncoupled debt based, dominator instruments we currently have, is to approach a Syntropic World.
To know the meaning in our heart and being, of enough, of gratitude, of working with others where intrinsic value is recognised, and care and love are considered as valuable as anything else…this is a Syntropic World.
To be able to contribute what you have in surplus, be that surplus of time, energy, skills, money, wellbeing…to another venture or enterprise..because you have a relationship with that enterprise and would love to see it fly..to clearly state from the initial investment day that your return may come in many different forms, including but not limited to money..
To have the relationship between the investor and the invested as central, iterative, connected…
For all parties to take responsibility for their choices, to consider consequences, to aim for a long term future, and to approach a higher order of wellbeing as individuals and the collective..this is Syntropic Investing.
To design into the investment the structure that the Pattern Integrity of the Source idea is never able to be violated by greed of profit in any form, that voting rights and equity rights are separate, incentives create a better future for all, without ecological offence of the disadvantage of anyone..this is to design a Syntropic legal code.
To return again and again to a conversation about ownership, power, enough, control, income, equity…because these conversations will be had – so let us do them openly, regularly, with full commitment – together.
To consider that the outcome of all of this is the more beautiful world that we know is possible for earth and all her creatures, without exploitation in any way..
To ensure everyone’s basic needs are met…because there is enough, and human ingenuity is unleashed when survival is not an issue.
These are the questions and stands we make in Syntropic World. Real value, value that supports a future for Earth and all her creatures, is comprehensively Syntropic.
It leaves everything better.
Idealistic? Sure. Possible? Absolutely. Easy? Hell no!
Worth pursuing? To answer that question, imagine a world where your value was never exploited, where our collective future was never bargained with? Where we know, deep in our bones, what it means to have enough?