The last decade has been a sobering one for traditional investing, with the stock market barely keeping pace with inflation. While it has been catastrophic for many individuals, the economic crisis presents us, as a community, with the opportunity to reshape how we think about money in a fundamental way.
What is investing? What is money for, actually? What does prosperity consist of? Our old paradigm is coming up short of answers to these questions. A new paradigm is forming around localization, socially responsible investing, fair trade, and sustainability. At the Alliance, we call it the local living economies movement, and we are proud to be a part of it.
The entry point to the new paradigm is to see our community’s economy for what it really is -- a network of people caring for, and providing for, each other. We need to see through the dollars that our economy is denominated in, to our everyday personal acts of responsibility, acts measured in the true human currency, the currency of caring.
The human currency is what makes work meaningful, what makes us value costly things, what motivates us beyond satisfying basic needs. When the Alliance works to localize food, or energy, or hiring, or investing, what really happens is that we personalize each of those parts of our economy, reconnecting them to our deeper values.
Recentering our economy in this way is the antidote for the hedonic economy of the previous century, but it can also avert the deflationary cycle many economists are predicting. It is a matter of transforming and managing our appetites, not just denying them.
In the local living economies paradigm, entrepreneurship becomes social enterprise -- strengthening people while making a profit --, construction becomes green building, and investing becomes responsible investing -- building a future based on mutual prosperity. When you see the economy in this light, you’ll realize how much there is to do, and how many opportunities we have to make a difference in our everyday purchases, our investments, and our business decisions.
We are very proud of our members, the businesses and organizations listed in this directory. I hope you’ll visit with them, join your commitment with theirs, and help us build a better economy for our community. It’s time to put your human currency to work!
President, Board of Directors