- Erick Brimen
Now in 2018, it’s more important than ever that people use their time and money wisely. Many of the world’s poorest continue to live on less than one US dollar per day with no clear long-term path out of poverty that will sustain themselves and their families for years to come. As the internet and other communication channels continue to shrink the world considerably, people of means are able to directly impact the lives of others across the planet, but as the evidence indicates, there are more or less effective ways to do so.
The evidence indicates that the most effective way to provide a sustainable path out of poverty and into prosperity is to invest in the entrepreneurs and businesses in impoverished communities. It is only by facilitating the value for value exchange of a market economy that sustainable human flourishing can be attained. It is this value for value exchange that has created the astounding prosperity of developed nations like the United States, and it is this value for value exchange that will lift underdeveloped areas up out of poverty and into prosperity. Some people refer to such conscious investment in poorer areas as conscious capitalism as popularized by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey. Many have chosen to pursue a path of conscious capitalism, as I have by means of NeWAY Capital. If you’ve recently discovered the valor and value in investing in people to provide a pathway out of poverty, here are some good ways to start:
Read the Books
Often, conscious capitalism, or even capitalism at large, is widely misunderstood and misconstrued. Young people have turned in droves towards socialism and given capitalism in all its heroism a bad name. However, a perusal of the greatest works of economics and political philosophy of the modern era show overwhelmingly that it is capitalism which facilitates the human flourishing of the poorest people on earth, and that conscious capitalism does so in an ethical and just manner. Read some of these great works yourself so that you’ll have a better appreciation for what the experts are saying and why they believe that conscious capitalism is the best way. A good starting point would be any of the classical economists like Adam Smith or Frederick Hayek. For a more modern approach, try Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey and Rajendra Sisodia or The Mystery of Capital by Hernando de Soto.
Put your Money where your Mouth Is
The defining characteristic of conscious capitalism is that everyone and everything can benefit from a voluntary exchange of value for value in the form of goods or services. As such, it’s important that the money you spend and the money you donate are doing the most good. Ensure that the places you invest are investing back into people and treating their suppliers and employees as valuable members of a team. Make sure organizations are not simply putting a bandaid on poverty, but are helping to boost individuals and families up and out sustainably. This may take a little more research on your part, but for the potential outcome, it’ll all be worth it.
Engage with the Economically Disheartened
Today’s western young adults have identified capitalism as the scapegoat for all the economic woes that befall them, and as such, many have become dazzled by other economies that promise total economic equality at the expense of economic prosperity. Young people have called for extreme wealth redistribution, thinking that equalizing outcomes will lead to better lives for all, when in fact all available evidence points to the opposite conclusion. I’ve seen this firsthand in the country of my birth, Venezuela. The conscious capitalism movement, and indeed the name of the movement itself, is an attempt to reclaim the beauty of capitalism and how, in its purest form, it can restore respectability and self-determination to people by letting them enjoy the fruits of their labor. As you can, engage in a civil discourse with others and exchange ideas about economics and political philosophy. Not only is capitalism a moral and just system, but it is the only economic system which has been proven time and time again to bring the poorest of the poor out of destitute poverty and into sustained human flourishing and prosperity. it is only capitalism which allows for the actualization of the limitless potential that all people--regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or nationality--have inside themselves.