“In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." - Shunryo Suzuki, Zen master
So that's all I have to tell you for now.
The book is unfinished, but as I said at the beginning, it never will be. This is a quest we're going on together, and now it's your turn. Use what I've given you as a starting point, but go out and find new and better ways to make the world and the financial markets better.
This book will never be unfinished because there are so many opportunities out there. So many crucial services are underfunded because we have not figured out how to make them a part of our financial markets. When I was a portfolio manager, I spent a lot of time with people who spent all day talking about how there were no opportunities left. In fact they just needed to get out of their ivory towers and look in the real world -- and get ready to do some real work. Climate, biodiversity, and nature are just a few important ones that we need to fix, and urgently so unless we're consumed by climate change in our own lifetimes.
Sometimes it might seem too hard to fix these problems. That there is too much inertia. But don't get discouraged. In time, smart people will make these things happen. The voluntary carbon offsets market, for example, is a fully functioning market for climate and nature. It is still tiny, but then again, it didn't exist a couple of decades ago. So change is possible. We've just got to work faster and bigger. But then that's what you're here for, isn't it?
I also take comfort in a couple of other thoughts. Looking over the long arc of history, healthcare and education once were unattainable luxuries except for the elites. Then they became charitable works and public goods. Now they are serviced by private industry and financed by the capital markets.
Why can't we do the same for climate and nature?
Of course, you've probably heard that the problem is that there's too many people, and we consume too much. Just remember people have been saying this for, well, ever. Apparently even the ancient Babylonians thought the world was getting overpopulated, 3700 years and 7.8 billion people ago. In recent times, yo've probably heard about Thomas Malthus, who in 1798 predicted that population growth would eventually exceed food production, leading to catastrophe. Think about how wrong he has been. For over 200 years (4000 years?), successive generations have innovated to create a world that supports more people with a far higher standard of living than he could've ever imagined.
Will we really be the first generation to fail?
We don't have to be.
Ultimately we'll live in the world we worked to create.
So let's get to work.
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