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Billionaire’s are not going to save us.
Defining True Wealth
a Holistic Concept that recognizes our interconnectedness, it recognizes both our material and spiritual well-being. Holistic wealth is sourced in our interconnectedness.
Our divisions – race, place, tribe – keep us away from True Wealth.
We need to set aside our identities as consumers and embrace our identities as neighbors and friends and citizens.
A lot of times we let what divides us tears us down and make us less wealthy as a nation. If we can come together and maintain empathy and compassion, we can be innovative and look for evidence-based policies that allow us to build True Wealth.
It’s an interesting question of whether a person can have wealth on their own or if True wealth only exists in the web of our interconnected common humanity.
Blocks of Hope
Blocks of Hope was a block-by-block place-based community improvement effort and what we learned was that as we did work over 14 years, the things we wanted to improve were in fact improved. This led to values going up, accelerating gentrification, an increase in displacement, increasing cost of housing as many of our original community members were priced out.
The tactics were strong in terms of community leadership development, but without significant investment into community development and affordable housing, the work went to benefit the incoming buyers of the improvements. In a way, mobility worked against the people doing the work on the ground to improve the community.
Poverty is a complex problem that can only be solved if we go to scale to build affordable housing. When we started there were 5 neighborhoods that were “affordable.” Today, none of those neighborhoods are affordable.
There are 5 issues that are deeply interconnected. We can’t work on just one of these, we have to work on all of them at the same time in a way that serves each community specifically. The 5 issues are:
- Affordable Housing
- Living wage
- Health related issues
- Social Safety net
In much of the developed world a higher percentage of housing is publicly held. If 30% of housing stock is publicly held, then there is less stigma around living in public housing.
In the US, our public housing has generally been some of the crappiest housing available. It doesn’t have to be this way. In a place like Sweden, there is really nice public housing in excellent locations and this further reduces the stigma while providing a great living experience.
It’s too bad that we all feel a little like we have to be social workers without the tools or training. We know business owners feel it, but also police force and our teachers are feeling like social workers. This is a symptom of the fact that we aren’t dealing with the actual problems.
ESG is a worthy form of investing, but we can’t stop there.
ESG is unquestionably a good thing. Our businesses should be good citizens, pay good wages, not trash the planet. All good, but it isn’t enough.
Additionally, this notion that billionaires are going to save us is nonsense. While philanthropy has been leveraged to do a lot of good in this world and is addressing a lot of critical problems, we need actual political and economic solutions.
The government is the only entity that can truly bring solutions to scale in a universal consistent way – public education, our library system, parks and rec. – those are all examples of government doing good work.
There are a number of different ways to ensure your citizens have healthcare, and housing, and food and we are not doing great in North America.
Is Poverty Just a Function of Reality?
No. but we do have an all or nothing mentality that keeps us from trying a thing, seeing what works, making subtle changes and trying again. In our winner take all political model, the minute one party wins they immediately start trying to tear down the other parties gains and start enforcing their own gains and this means ideology overwhelms incremental progress. A whole lot of good work gets flushed between every change of power and resources are wasted regularly.
We need LESS IDEOLOGY and MORE PROBLEM SOLVING.