24 - The Purpose of Capital with Jed Emerson
Given the capitalistic societies most of us live in, we spend an inordinate amount of time focused on accumulating, growing, and deploying capital. You could fill a library with all the books dedicated to the what and how of capital. Yet, we devote shockingly little time to considering the why of capital. Much in the same way Simon Sinek asks all businesses to “start with why”, Jed Emerson would like us purveyors of capital to start with why.
In other words, we would be well served to stop and ask ourselves, what is the purpose of capital? With me today to tackle this question is Jed Emerson, one of the impact investment industry’s elder statesmen who literally wrote the book on this topic. In addition to his writing, Jed currently focuses on working with families exploring how to ensure a long-term legacy by managing their full net worth for impact. He also advises investment firms on the implications of an impact investing framework for their practice. He is an internationally recognized Thought Leader in impact investing, social entrepreneurship, and strategic philanthropy.
During the episode, Jed and I discuss his journey through the industry from his early days as a social worker to his current work as a writer and adviser. We also dig into the major themes in his book, The Purpose of Capital including the role of spirituality in impact investing, the role of Western dualism and our separation of self and other, and how Jed’s views have evolved over the years. And be sure to stay tuned to the very end where we talk about what Jed believes we’re getting wrong when it comes to impact measurement and management along with his outlook for the future of our industry.
Resources mentioned in this episode: