Today’s Wall Street Journal profiles author Woody Tasch and the Slow Money movement he helped grow. The Slow Money philosophy states that, with billions of dollars zipping around the globe in the form of opaque packaged derivatives and other fantastical Wall Street inventions, money has gotten too fast. Greed has created a system that rewards lunatic speculation and raises profit in importance above all else. That, in a nutshell, is why the economy crashed.
To restore people’s connection to their community, their food, and the soil, Slow Money seeks to find new ways to connect responsible investors to small farmers. The returns on such local investments won’t be huge, but neither will it lead to another house of cards scenario where businesses get too big to fail and profits are based on… well, nothing at all. Slow money gives value to what’s important.
From Stephanie Simon’s article:
A former venture capitalist, Mr. Tasch now travels the country warning that money moves too fast. Billions zip through global markets each day, bundled into financial packages so complex that it is hard to know what you own.
His antidote: A fundamental shift in our attitude toward investing. Taking a page from the Slow Food movement, which calls on consumers to take the time to savor home-cooked meals, Mr. Tasch dubbed his philosophy Slow Money.
They like the Slow Money concept but worry that it may be more cumbersome than a traditional bank loan. Specifically, they fear deep-pocketed local investors will demand a say in management decisions. Equally perilous: small-sum investors swamping the Lobaughs with requests for tours and samples, and interminable inquiries about the goats.
“We’re still weighing out” whether it’s worth the trouble, Ed Lobaugh said.
The Slow Money movement aims to address these concerns by creating regional funds to broker interaction between investors and farmers. Such funds exist in many communities for investment in affordable housing and mom-and-pop entrepreneurs. Just a few have cropped up to invest in local farms, such as the Carrot Project in New England.
Mr. Tasch has spent years in the field of socially responsible investing, managing foundation funds and distributing tens of millions in venture capital. He came to the Slow Money philosophy several years ago, he said, but it all crystallized for him after the financial crash of last fall. The author of the recent book, “Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money,” he has posted a statement of his principles online and hopes to get a million people to endorse them.
“We must bring money back down to earth,” he says. He knows it won’t be easy, he says. But Slow Money is nothing if not patient.