Social capital markets are coming, though the landscape remains messy, incomplete and uncertain. If you cut your teeth on grassroots activism in the mines of Fife, the streets of Dhaka or the favelas of Rio, all this may well appear morally dubious as well as practically daunting.
Commentators such as John Goldstein at Medley Partners or Jennifer Moses at ARK may yet be right in warning that the ‘fuzzy’ space between philanthropy and mainstream finance may prove too complex (though complexity is something the social sector has never fought shy of). It is certainly true that the recipients need to be closely involved in designing innovations…
For everyone involved, the promise is of a richer ecology of finance, with many more networks linking providers of capital and the people engaged in social change, with more information, more deals, faster growth and greater impact – a web of exchange that might resemble the flight paths of bees in a dense, busy meadow, each of them cross-pollinating ideas between different sources. We live in a world that combines many unmet social needs and enormous wealth, mostly disconnected from each other. Any new approaches that can put that wealth to work to address compelling needs must be welcomed – even if we should expect failures as well as successes as new markets take shape.
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