Viewpoint: Shut Up, Ask Questions and Embrace the Struggle: Jed Emerson’s Plea to Impact Investors
By Anna Patton
In the 1980s Jed Emerson was involved with a movement that helped to smuggle war-displaced refugees into the US. They would often sign off their letters, he recalls, with the words, ‘celebrate the struggle.’
It’s a mantra that’s sorely lacking in his current sphere of work: impact investing, he believes, has been taken over by efforts to simplify, define and streamline things – and an unhealthy reluctance to acknowledge just how little we know.
“I get it, I understand the inclination, and if we’re going to talk about scaling impact you have to have standards,” Emerson tells Pioneers Post via video call from New York, where he and his wife are currently relocating from California. But people seem to expect “easy answers to extremely complex questions… I don’t think impact is easy, and I’m not necessarily convinced that it should be easy either.”
Photo courtesy of SOCAP 2017.