‘The Biggest Prosperity Opportunity in History’: Joel Solomon on the ‘Clean Money Revolution’
Published in Sustainable Brands by Sheila Shayon
‘The Biggest Prosperity Opportunity in History’: Joel Solomon on the ‘Clean Money Revolution’ is Sustainable Brand’s interview of Joel Solomon on his book and vision for the future.
Who is Joel Solomon? “Solomon is Chair of Renewal Funds, a $98 million, mission-based venture capital firm in Vancouver, Canada. During his career, he has invested in more than 100 early-stage companies that have returned above market value and driven positive change. He is a founding member of the Social Venture Network, Business for Social Responsibility and Tides Canada, and is Board Chair of Hollyhock.” He recently launched his book – The Clean Money Revolution: Reinventing Power, Purpose, and Capitalism, published this month (New Society Press, co-authored by Tyee Bridge).
In his book, Solomon makes the case: “By 2050, $40 trillion will change hands in North America alone – the largest intergenerational wealth transfer in history – and the effects will transform the world as we know it.”
What does Solomon sees as the biggest money making opportunity for the future?
“Solomon: The biggest money-making opportunity in history is in reinventing the economy. [Everything] from energy to transportation, the built environment, food systems, waste reduction, clean-up of our industrial messes and infusing a strong commons, while investing in the overhaul of outdated industries and systems, can provide more profits than we really need.
It’s akin to the rise of the information technology economy. The reinvention for long-term civilization can be centuries of prosperity-drivers.
With a new consumer mindset emerging generationally, the opportunities are staggering. We’re seeing it already. Look at trends in renewables, electric cars, battery technology, organics, prevention in health care, dramatically more efficient buildings, and efficiencies throughout the industrial economy. Consider the biggest companies on the planet and how unthinkable they were a few decades ago.
The simple motivation is to make money. The reinforcement is being ahead of regulatory pressures as resources become scarcer and ground rules change. Consumer preferences and access to transparency of information on where, how and with what effect on people any given product has, is in rapid change. Connections to personal health of what we eat, breathe and put on our bodies alone will drive a massive shift of capital to cleaner, greener and more just.
Follow the money: We are sitting on the biggest money-making and prosperity opportunity in history right before our eyes. It’s to reinvent the entire economy for cleaner, greener and more fair.”
Solomon makes the argument that “Humanity has over-reached the carrying capacity of nature.”
Solomon: National security, economic stability and having a good life for future generations is the most persuasive high-minded argument.
Solomon cites that with population going from less than 3 billion to over 7 billion in his own lifetime, all of our interests, ecological, financial and societal, should compel us to work towards stability and long-term thinking.
Solomon: “How much is enough money for me?” That should be a required question. Blind fear showing up as greed, and lack of any major societal institutions to guide us otherwise, leaves us with a permanently immature psychological level, where ruthless fear/greed, win power and mess things up for all the rest of us. Inquiry is basic to mature intelligence in good leadership.
One of the concepts he also talks about is the value of entrepreneurs learning “inner skills”. When asked what he means by that, this is his response;
Solomon: These times demand even more emotional intelligence, self-mastery and spiritual understanding. With all our advancements as modern civilization, we neglect training of basic human skills of conflict resolution, big-picture and long-term thinking, lifting above the self, calming anxiety and accessing higher intelligence.
Understanding relationships, effective communication, emotional maturity, self-discipline, and a sense of responsibility to a bigger picture are all part of wisdom. These are the skills of psychology, sociology, spiritual practice, self-examination, humility and right relationship.
They are increasingly essential skills for the leadership required for the state of our species, planet and times.
The meaning behind his advice on “Watch the fringes to know where the mainstream is headed.”
Solomon: They are both unprecedented in creating blind damage and providing brilliant solutions. I can only bet on the latter and throw myself into that potential, doing my best as an ancestor to the future to make the best, most constructive contribution I can make. I believe all the ancestors of all times had that point of view primarily as their ultimate meaning and purpose.
Future generations are “watching us right now.” They are studying this period, where we had it all, yet may have squandered our privilege. They will be asking the obvious questions many of us alive today have forgotten, or become too complacent or lazy, to ask.
How did we sit by and let happen ecological collapse, and blow the chance for peaceful co-existence?
I spend my time on fringes. Now I’ve lived long enough and seen enough to have absolute confidence the fringes are full of value and positive opportunity.
There is no possible smarter conclusion than that we should be mobilizing the entire resources of the affluent of the world towards using our smarts as long-term thinkers and creators, to slow down our damaging and destructive blind-spot practices. We need to know what “enough” is!
There is more than enough money in the world to solve every challenge – perhaps other than human ignorance, fear and greed.