Press release: Jed Emerson releases his new book, “The Purpose of Capital”

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Now Available, The Purpose of Capital: Elements of Impact, Financial Flows and Natural Being, is the latest book by Jed Emerson, ImpactAssets Fellow and widely recognized international thought leader on impact investing, performance metrics and sustainable finance.

The book, Emerson’s eighth on the topic of impact investing and social entrepreneurship, moves beyond the existing framework of impact investing strategy and tactics (the “how”) to a rich, nuanced and accessible discussion of the meaning and purpose of capital (the “Why”).

Emerson asks readers to reflect on the personal and historic factors that have shaped our 21st Century perception of financial capitalism, challenging us to seek a deeper understanding of the purpose of capital—and envision a future that integrates components of economic/financial value creation with social/environmental value.

Suzanne DiBianca, EVP Corporate Relations and Chief Philanthropy Officer at Salesforce, said, “In his latest and most important book, Jed Emerson helps us see how our understanding of the purpose of capital has its roots in ancient thinking and wisdom, while its future is in concepts such as Mutual Impact and Deep Economy.”

“Challenging us to understand the shortcomings of modern financial capitalism, he helps us appreciate how changing the world must be grounded in efforts to change our selves. A truly inspiring read from an open and authentic elder of our field.”

Emerson writes that the challenge of defining the true purpose of capital has been with us since the start of modern financial capitalism in 1604, but the roots of our exploration of meaning and purpose go back to the origins of humanity and in many ways are at the center of our shared, global history. As readers consider that history, they need to explore two central questions:

  • How did we come to separate our understanding of economic/financial value from social/environmental value?
  • How did we come to think of ourselves as being separate from our neighbors, community and planet?

By crafting a new, holistic understanding of ourselves and our relation to the Other, we are able to approach a deeper, more significant understanding of the purpose of capital for our community, which may then anchor our individual definition of the purpose of capital, how we understand the nature of returns (both financial and extra-financial) and the cultivation of a more profound understanding of the meaning of money.


Photo: Jed Emerson speaks at SOCAP 2017.

Source: Press release (link opens in a new window)

impact investing, sustainable finance