Posts Tagged ‘financial assets’

Peter Diamandis: Breakthrough Dreamer

Peter Diamandis is the driving force behind the innovation-fueling X-Prize and Singularity University, and a leading writer and speaker on the potential for exponential and unexpected technological and socially/environmentally-beneficial breakthroughs in the years to come. We could easily have included him alongside his oft-colleague Ray Kurzweil as a Driver, but the breadth of his vision, especially in the book Abundance, tips him toward Dreamer-hood.

About Peter Diamandis:
Diamandis’ website
Wiki on Diamandis
Peter Diamandis newsletter

Book: Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think
Abundance is a whirlwind tour through several interacting forces that Diamandis sees as driving widespread and largely unexpected innovations in the coming years.

Video: Abundance is Our Future
Video: Nine-minute montage of Diamandis media interviews; a good introduction to his primary themes.

Two recent Diamandis initiatives are designed for entrepreneurs and impact investors looking to make positive change in the world:
Book: Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World
Website/network: Abundance360
Book review of Bold: The review’s opening sentences capture the gist of Diamandis’ breakthrough dreams: “Just as an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs that ruled the Earth and made way for small furry mammals, a new wave of planetary disruptions is about to occur. The new asteroid is called ‘exponential technology.’ It is going to wipe out industries in a similar manner to the rock which fell on Earth during the Cretaceous Period.”

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Peer To Peer Lending Sites: Comparing Lending Club, Prosper, and Kiva

This article describes how peer to peer lending (or micro-lending) works, and compares several of the leading lending sites: Lending Club, Prosper, and Kiva. All these platforms allow investors to lend money to groups or individuals. Kiva loans are interest-free; principle only is returned. The other two require credit checks from investors and return interest as well as principle. Read the article.

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Institute for Local Self-Reliance

For decades, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance has championed just that. It focuses on local control and reliance particularly in the areas of broadband, energy, independent businesses, banking, waste (to wealth), and the public good. Each of these areas contains a deep database of articles, relevant rules and resources. Its website has numerous audio, video and written resources. Noteworthy is a searchable database of local, state and federal laws in areas of interest to local self reliance, such as composting, anti-privitization, beverage containers, etc. Visit website.

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Joseph Keefe: Sustainable Investing

This Q & A with Joseph Keefe, president and CEO of Pax World Management (an SRI pioneer), speaks to the value of SRI as a positive force in business and for the planet, as well as offering strong financial performance for investors. Keefe makes the case for SRI as the obvious choice for moving the global economy in a more sustainable direction. Read interview.

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Natural Investments Heart Rating

Since 1992, the NI Social Rating (the Heart Rating) has been the leading tool investors can use to get a snapshot of sustainable and responsible mutual funds’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. The Rating methodology addresses avoidance and affirmative screening, shareholder advocacy, community investing, and the firm’s research process. The Rating does not include consideration of financial performance; see US SIF’s performance charts for that.  See the latest NI Heart Ratings.

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Your loans do a world of good at Calvert Foundation

Calvert Foundation’s Community Investment Notes were a pioneer in advancing community investing in both the US and the developing world. And now, their Vested platform accepts crowdfunded investments of as little as $25 as well. Either approach lets you pick your interest (small businesses in US, women’s empowerment, microfinance, fair trade, education, housing). Learn more.

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Beyond GDP: measuring true wealth

In recent years, the shortcomings of the commonly-cited GDP (gross domestic product) have become more widely recognized, spreading even to some governments and mainstream organizations such as the UN. Many alternative metrics have been proposed, each of which aims to capture aspects of societal well-being that are omitted by GDP, and/or to minimize the values-neutral elements of GDP (which considers money spent on, say, cleaning up the Deepwater Horizon spill as a positive contribution to GDP). Economist Hazel Henderson is a long-time champion of such alternative measures; Ethical Markets, where she is a principle, tracks news from around the world on such matters, and in an early-2015 essay, she highlights several current initiatives:

Genuine Progress Indicator. This website includes numerous articles and scholarly papers about GDP, several alternative measures, and the GPI, which estimates “economic welfare,” which appears to have peaked in 1978, while GDPs have generally continued rising.

Beyond GDP: The Need for New Measures of Progress (pdf). A report published by Boston University in 2009, by the team that developed the GPI.

Living Planet Index. Developed by the World Wildlife Fund, the focus here is on species and habitats.

Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators. A twelve-topic assessment of quality of life trends in the United States.

Sustainable Society Index. A recently-developed metric that tracks twenty societal measures of sustainability (including sanitation, gender equality, income distribution, governance, and ecological factors) for individual countries around the world.

Gross National Happiness. A national initiative in Bhutan that has spurred interest from countries and cities around the world.

Happy Planet Index. An initiative that builds on Bhutan’s lead.

Canadian Index of Wellbeing. Since 2011, this initiative has looked at country-wide wellbeing, and recently Ontario became the first province to use the methodology.

 

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Natural Capitalism

Book: Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution
Co-authored by Paul Hawken and Amory and Hunter Lovins, the book advocates the triple bottom line of profitability, environmental awareness, and social responsibility as a way that businesses can achieve greater operational efficiency. The book is available in hard copy ,or in free downloadable chapters.

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