The Invisible Heart of Markets

The G8 Summit has convened a social impact investment task force.  This body just published a report entitled Impact Investment: The Invisible Heart of Markets — Harnessing the Power of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Capital For Public Good.  It’s a treatise on what is needed to bring government, business, the social sector and foundations, institutional and private investors, and impact entrepreneurs into some sort of common platform for idea building and for action.

Screenshot 2014-09-23 11.46.33A quote at the beginning of the report comes from Pope Francis: “It is urgent that governments throughout the world commit themselves to developing an international framework capable of promoting a market of high impact investments and thus to combating an economy which excludes and discards.”  David Cameron, from the World Economic Forum in Davos (2013) weighs in as well, referring to the world’s “shared social and economic challenges.”

Particularly because of its reference to the “heart” of markets, this report, as I perused a post about it on Twitter, struck my interest.  Partially because I’ve become enamored with the concept of a heart in law and business — and appreciate the use of the word even if its practical meaning is yet to be very fleshed out (pun intended) or tends to ultimately be rendered meaningless as politics co-op what might otherwise be very meaningful (even if still “just” rhetoric).  But I’m also appreciating a piece Triple Pundit put out about this report, and want to riff off of that even more than the report itself. talks about what is really needed in order for this beautiful and lofty vision of collaboration to take root in our topsy turvy, hyper-capitalist world.  Marta Maretich shrewdly points out,

…in the dazzle of the report’s many authoritative recommendations for governments, policymakers an impact sector leaders, there’s a danger of overlooking a vital detail: real change doesn’t come from institutions or governments, nor does it come in the form of policies, manifestos or even laws. These things are necessary for the growth of our sector now, as the report neatly demonstrates, but they are just expressions of a more profound shift that will be needed if impact is to fulfill its potential.

Because real change comes from people, from the things they believe — their values — and from the decisions they make as a result of those beliefs.

So for me this report is a reminder that to get to the heart of progress, we must each be in touch with our own hearts.  Then our beliefs and our actions, our goals and our outcomes, can be aligned.  Then, we may have a shot at “real” transformation…

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