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To What Extent Is the Growing Volume of Capital a Risk to Humanity?

Touch the Soil News #784 (Feature photo – Katrina Tuliao – CC SA 2.0))

The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance recently updated its numbers on the volume of capital (dollars) invested in projects they claim are worthy of “sustainable” classification. That amount of capital (dollars) in this sustainable category – worldwide – is a staggering $22.9 trillion. The report contends that this $22.9 trillion represents 26.3 percent of the world’s total investments. From this measurement, we can extrapolate that the world’s investors (sustainable and not sustainable) have $87 trillion invested into the global economy.

Through our own investigation, we believe that the $87 trillion is far understated. Bloomberg Business reported earlier this year that the global debt is close to $200 trillion. Deutsche Bank reported that global investments (debt and stocks) in 2014 totaled $294 trillion and were growing by 4 percent a year. This means that in 2017, global investments could reach $330 trillion.

The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance says the goal of its members – mostly big companies investing other peoples’ pension funds or private wealth – is to get a competitive return on their investment. Investors not included in the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance want the same thing – a competitive return. The bottom line on any investment – sustainable or not – is to always take out more than is put in.

So what is a competitive return? Most would agree a five (5) percent return is competitive these days. So the question one must ask is how many minimum wage jobs do not happen in order to take that much cash out of the till of every enterprise which has taken on investment dollars?

Five (5) percent of $330 trillion is $16.5 trillion dollars – an amount of money that would employ 1.1 billion people at minimum wage around the globe. Since most global citizens do not receive minimum wage for their life’s energy – has the investment universe gotten too big for humanity?

The goal of the global investment community is to take out more than is put in. In order to achieve these returns, do the world’s peoples have to receive less than they put in with their labor and lives? For much of the world’s peoples, they cannot successfully compete with the investment world for dollars to buy food. How can they, when there is $44,000 worth of investments seeking a return for every living person in the world? One of the top strategies of the investment world is to curtail jobs, pay and benefits.

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