Movement Building for a New Economy
There is an enormous amount of energy among people and organizations that recognize the need for a global economic transformation. Both here in the US and across the world, wealth distribution is as disproportionate as it has ever been. (Check out this interactive Poverty Index over Time tool on UnSectored)
Our existing economic legal framework continues to support the status quo, but the global recession in 2008 has created an opening for new thinking. Social entrepreneurship, impact investing, conscious consumerism, shareholder activism, divestment, sharing economies, cooperative businesses, benefit corporations - all of these are elements in a broader ecosystem which envisions a new, sustainable, more equitable economic regime.
Unfortunately, though, these elements are all compartmentalized, resulting in a fragmented ecosystem and many missed opportunities. For example: if I’m interested in reducing my carbon footprint, perhaps I buy local, utilize public transportation, and opt in to a neighborhood solar co-op. But, through my bank or my retirement funds, it’s almost a 100% certainty that I’m investing equity in fossil fuel companies. A sadly hypocritical plight which is all too common across different industries. In this scenario, the sustainable investing industry has missed out on an opportunity to engage a likely customer concerned with environmental stewardship. So, the great challenge today is coordination across and between movements that share common goals. Who is doing this work?
As an ecosystem of people and organizations dedicated to realizing this vision for a new economy, we must recognize our connectedness. We are in the business of designing a new lifestyle framework for everyone around the world who shares our vision. This requires a massive education campaign, new media outlets, and a creative approach to systems thinking. The environmental activist, by her nature, should also be the impact investor. Our ecosystem needs to provide her the tools to make those connections and act on them. Fortunately, the infrastructure to create these connections exists - the good old internets.
Organizations like Purpose have been successful in designing digital movements and platforms that have attracted millions of participants and influenced social and political outcomes all over the world. New Media Ventures is seeding media and technology companies that “can shake up the world of progressive politics and citizen engagement.” The Alliance to Develop Power has a holistic model that leverages community capital to fund progressive policy campaigns. The time is now to apply this same movement architecture to the economy. Success will depend on our ability to prioritize a collective effort over an individual, siloed one. In the new economy, collaboration is the new competition.
At UnSectored, finding ways to connect the dots is our mission. Do you have other examples of people or organizations doing this work? Share them with us, we'd love to share them with our community.