Local investing in our values
By Adam Schwartz
In his most recent book, “Local Dollars, Local Sense”– How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity– Michael Shuman makes a convincing case as to how and why we need to focus on local investing. Of course for me the third chapter, The Hidden Power of Cooperatives is the most compelling.
For far too long I have heard comments similar to the “Hidden” word in the title. Cooperatives are often described as the best kept secret. I ask why we are a secret. What can we do to remove hidden the cloak of misunderstanding that surrounds our business model?
I have also heard cooperatives act ethically and responsibly because it is in our DNA. When is the last time someone saw your DNA?
So if those of us that believe in the cooperative business model are reluctant to identify our businesses as co-ops and patronize other co-ops how can we expect others to do so?
It is easy to believe the economy we inherited is simply the way it has always been and will ever be. An economy where a huge portion of wealth generated locally goes outside our community. Most often this occurs via our investment dollars through 401(k) plans to who knows where to do who knows what.
Amy Cortese, the author of “Locavesting” said, “The crazy thing is it’s easier for most people to invest in a company halfway across the world than in their own backyard.”
I am tired of it. Tired of giving my money to people I don’t know, to people and institutions I don’t trust. How can I trust someone I don’t know? We willingly ceded this control we can just as willingly take it back…
Adam Schwartz is the founder of The Cooperative Way a consulting firm that helps co-ops succeed. He is an author, speaker and member-owner of the CDS Consulting Co-op. You can follow him on Twitter @adamcooperative.