5 Ways To Ensure Your Money Doesn’t Contradict Your Social Values
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
What has your money been up to lately? Spending time lining the pockets of CEOs whose business practices you find virulent, or maybe helping to pay for the marketing of products you consider dangerous or unsustainable? Or perhaps it’s on another continent, vacationing with a violent regime. If pressed, could you say what in the world your money is supporting?
Anyone who pays into a retirement fund, invests in the stock market, or holds a bank account has a role, however slight, in shaping our financial system— though most people can say more about what’s wrong with that system than they can about their specific role in it. The real-world impacts of our own investing and banking decisions often seem so abstract that we can convince ourselves we’re not really connected to them at all, removing any urgent need to change our financial practices—or even to understand what we might be able to change, if we cared to.
It is possible to redirect your money’s social and environmental ties, even if a lack of understanding too often obscures that fact. In a recent New Yorker essay about learning the language of money, John Lanchester wrote that “when it comes to discussing money, incomprehension is a form of consent,” adding: “If we allow ourselves not to understand this language, we are signing off on the way the world works today.”
If you’re not thrilled with the status quo and are wondering what you can do to line up your money’s values with your own, read on.