Impact Investments

Impact investing is really in vogue and moving more and more mainstream, even towards retail investors. There is a fundamental economic thesis in there: sustainability within the physical realm have to be honoured in order to sustain financially in long run.

Actually, for the longest time, capitalism did not force us into the dilemma of choosing between impact and returns. Development offers its returns, the uplift of millions out of poverty and creation of middle class did bring about greater prosperity overall.

But with greater concentration of wealth, and greater inequality, the interest of the overall society may not always align with the interest of those who holds the power to shape things. The emphasis on impact is welcomed; but I think that does not remove the occasional dichotomy that exists: that it might yield greater returns in the short run to keep the upper middle and middle class glued to their phones, sink into greater debts, than to offer clean water, and affordable power for those in the fringes.

So as we galvanise resources into this areas, let us not forget to deal with the other feedback loop that is still driving the world in the other direction.