In Social Investment, it is important to clarify what is the social problem that needs to be solved. This book offers many clues for possible social problems in the global scale, and helps us broaden our perspective.
by Jorgen Randers, Translated by Kyoko Nonaka
One of the reasons we read books that predict the future is to be prepared for possible future events and to seek business opportunities, but the sensational predictions are often wrong and abstract and harmless predictions are not worth reading. Furthermore, the long-term predictions that spans over forty years often lack accuracy because of the variables such as prerequisites and differences in handling the numbers, making the books less attractive. This title, however, is an exception, and I feel that it serves the purpose well.
Let me point out the three reasons why this is a good book.
- Although the book encompasses a long range of forty years, it offers a well-balanced prediction that takes into account the trends and tendencies as a whole.
- It introduces many predictions by specialists in various fields, (many fascinating themes by various specialists) and the author organizes the arguments by demonstrating similarities and differences of their predictions as well as his own.
- Author presents adequately pessimistic views which give us a sense of urgency.
Interesting point is that by 2025, problems such as population and consumption, energy and CO², and food issues reach serious overshoot status that go beyond the capacity of our earth. Although theoretically, it is possible to solve the problems, in reality, it will never be resolved.
Political strategies that take into account the future often require the sacrifice of today in order for a better tomorrow. In the democratic society where voters with short-term visions and free market society, and where investors pursue short-term profit making, it is difficult to carry on such long-term political strategies. Nobody is thinking how the present behavior affects the future.
On the other hand, the author does not think that capitalism will continue to exist as is for the next forty years. Modified capitalism, where happiness as a whole is prioritized before an individual’s profit, will emerge and profit will not be the only criteria that determines the flow of investment. He also predicts that it will become necessary for the companies to report not only the financial activities but also their work environment and impact on society.
This is the same concept as social investment. When society faces stalemate, such investment approach could become the norm. The society, furthermore, sifts the aim from the “economic growth supported by petroleum” to the “sustainable happiness,” and as happiness of the human becomes the focus, the society transitions to the “degrowth society.”
The author predicts that the situation will not improve, and based on the prediction, he gives twenty advisements on how to prepare and live a better life as an individual. Here are some of them.
- Focus on the satisfaction, rather than the income.
- Learn about unsustainability that becomes a threat to your living standard.
- Change your belief that growth is good.
- Do more than your assigned responsibility, so you don’t regret in the future.
- Seek business opportunities in the current unsustainability.