This week’s key picture is from Wikimedia commons, and shows a few things that are quite relevant to the current commentary.
Investing, that is, putting your excess resources into something worthwhile in this crazy mixed up world can be a difficult thing.
In the traditional flatland world, you take your excess money, put it into a mutual or index fund, and sit back and relax while the money builds slowly, so that when you ‘retire’, you have money to live off of, and can enjoy your sunset years. Or you invest your money, and use it to buy a house, go on vacation, buy shiny trinkets or whatever suits your fancy. People have asked me about investing (based on a short diversion on Wall Street), and my general response is that investing in yourself (learning something, staying healthy), your community, and your own business is probably better than any other sort of traditional investment that you could come up with. Yes, it is still important to put money away for a rainy day, as the industrial world will still trundle on for a long time, but real wealth, as many will tell you, isn’t the sum total of your bank account and possessions.
This investment strategy is multi-fold. In investing in yourself, your community, and so on, you invest in real things that nobody can take away from you. Learn a language, a set of useful skills (be wary of spending thousands for a ‘degree’!); learning how to defend yourself, making a true community – all of those things can’t be easily taken away, and reside within you.
Investing in this manner also avoids the issue of investing in companies/the stock market which is full of questionable companies and worldviews. For example, investing in Google/Apple/Uber/Facebook might give you great returns, but their business model might prey upon the weakest in society, and be part of our industrial society which is trashing the planet. Yes, by some traditional measures, these companies might be labeled as ‘ethical’, but they are generally heavily involved in our crazy modern society. This investment strategy helps avoid the stress caused by cognitive dissonance – put your money where your mouth is!
One other investment (as referenced in the photo, with a green plant) – land, can be a great investment, but only if it is productive in a sustainable way. Chris Martenson had a great comment on this on a podcast a few months ago. It is one thing to buy a house, but another to buy a homestead, where the land can help feed you.
None of this information is new, nor is any of it groundbreaking. However, it is important that we tell ourselves, and others, that there is another path.
- What do you invest in, and why?
- Are there things you don’t invest in for ethical and/or moral reasons?
- What are your investment suggestions, given the world of crazy that we live in these days?