Mega-trending towards zero – what next?

Three long-term economic trends all point towards zero: 1) official interest rates; 2) dividends from stock markets (as a proportion of total returns); and 3) economic growth rates. What are the potential consequences for our economic model if these mega-trends are correct and if they persist – what next?

I wrote this text in 2018 as a thought experiment. It was never published at the time because I was not sure how such a heretical narrative might be beneficial… but now, as the Covid19 pandemic triggers a global financial calamity, I hope people find it useful as they navigate the crisis and contemplate the systemic changes that may be necessary. Continue reading

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What is a market-rate of return on our data?


To find the answer, we need to go back to the origin of the word “data”. ‘Etymology can give a startling new perspective on many of the phrases we frequently toss around in business’, says Gillian Tett in her FT column Language matters: the real meaning of Big Data. The word “data” comes from the Latin verb “to give”, and could therefore be translated to mean “a gift”. If the original meaning of words is important, then we should be careful how we use them or risk distorting the effects they have, without even realising it. Continue reading

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Triple Entry Bookkeeping & Sumptuous Accounting Principles

Introducing “Triple Entry Bookkeeping” – an accounting methodology that incorporates the non-financial #impact of commercial transactions. It is a way to factor in #externalities, positive or negative, within market prices and asset valuations.

It sets out rules for #ProgrammableMoney that can account for impact (+ & -) and adjusts purchasing power accordingly, for both buyers and sellers i.e. creates market based incentives for doing good.

It offers an arithmetic framework that could support proposals by @YanisVaroufakis for the #Kosmos (a synthetic digital currency modelled on the #Bancor by John Maynard Keynes, originally proposed as a unit of account to track international flows of assets and liabilities).

Read the full paper at www.sumptuousaccounting.org

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EngagedX – new website 2016

Dear friends and colleagues*

We have launched our new website for 2016

website2016-510-h2.jpg Continue reading

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Truth or dare – transparency by vanguard social investors reveals risks and returns in a maturing market

A landmark study released today via the Government’s open data portal reveals for the first time historic performance of UK social investment activity.

eX Dataset1_by year

The total financial performance (comparing all capital draw downs with all capital, interest and fee payments) over the 12 year period was negative 9.25% (-0.77% annualised)*. Counterintuitively, this is remarkably good given that pricing of capital was driven by affordability and not risk adjusted. Moreover, most of these social investments were made after the investees had been refused finance from High Street institutions. They would therefore be classified as high risk deals. Continue reading

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Coining the terms ‘HEAVYreturns’ and ‘Enumeme’

HEAVYreturns_2015.02

Money, finance and capital markets are social constructs that have ostensibly evolved for societal purpose. Yet paradoxically finance and enterprises that intentionally target social returns need to be prefixed with the word ‘social’ (sometimes ‘impact’, sometimes ‘social impact’) to make it clear that they have an explicit social purpose. Measuring social impact, and by extension environmental impact, is an attempt at quantifying the societal relevance of all this activity – and shining a light on what might be otherwise described by economists as positive or negative externalities. But measuring social impact directly is arguably one of the most difficult ways of universally assessing social usefulness. This is because not everything that is important can be easily measured, and not everything that can be measured can be easily compared with other important things because they often often get measured in different ways.

Continue reading

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‘X’ Capitalism…fixing capitalism with capitalism

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Below are the slides of the keynote address that I gave at the 9th Annual Social Responsibility Forum, IE Business School (Madrid, Spain). If the presentation does not load, you can find the original here.

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