There is a lot of activity in the social and philanthropic sector to attract investment from banks. This pursuit is a component of what is generally referred to as social finance. Impact investment is another popular description. Many see it as a way of curbing the excesses of our banking system (remember the global financial crisis of 2008?). They also would like to redirect the considerable sums held by banks for social purpose. The potential capital amounts are staggering. While I’m glad some folks are chipping away at this mountain of money. I believe only boutique solutions will emerge until we have improved the ability of government to address social and economic justice.
Here’s why we can’t lose sight of our responsibility to improve our democracy:
• Government is our creation. We, as citizens, set it up to do our bidding.
• Government regulates the banking system.
• The banking system is set up to maximize shareholder value. They don’t have our best interests in mind.
• We already have financial institutions who have the best interests of the community in mind. They are called credit unions. For example, RBC with more than $670 billion in assets under management has established a $10 million Generator Fund. This pales in comparison to Vancity Credit Union’s commitment to invest its capital assets of $20 Billion to achieve social impact.
We have the capacity to transform our democracy. Until that happens, we’ll only be chipping away at the edges of the banking system. In the meantime support your local credit union.
“A great gulf… has been opened between our material advance and our social and moral progress, a gulf in which we may one day be lost if it is not closed or narrowed. We have conquered outer space. We have not conquered ourself.”
from Lester Pearson’s Nobel acceptance speech
In this cold commodity culture
Where you lay your money down
It’s hard to even notice
That all this earth is hallowed ground.