Tasch argues for slow money, local economy in Chattanooga

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People who “trade” gather around tables at the Ooltewah nursery near Chattanooga. (Photo Ooltewahnursery.com)

People who “trade” in local economy gather around tables at the Ooltewah nursery near Chattanooga. (Photo Ooltewahnursery.com)

By David Tulis

In October 2014 an erroneous order to transact shares totaling F$617 billion — greater than the size of Sweden’s economy — were piped into the Japan stock exchange. The requests for 67.78 trillion yen were voided before they could be executed Oct. 1.

The error is breathtaking for its size, as are other aspects of a digitized global economy where lightning-fast representations of capital fly among financial centers and national capitals.

Not only are frauds and mistakes remarkable, but the lack of personal and institutional control over money and credit creation. A trader is mystified. “I don’t think we can find out who did this,” says Sumiyo Yamamoto, vice president at Jefferies Japan Ltd. “OTC transactions happen directly between two parties, which makes it difficult to find out who was involved. But considering the scale of the error, I guess it was a big broker.”

Bring money back to earth

The story is recounted by local economy guru Woody Tasch, who will be in Chattanooga Nov. 18, a Wednesday, to give a morning presentation about local economy capitalism and the food movement.

“Just what kind of social and environmental and cultural collateral damage are we exposing ourselves to daily as a result of ignorance about massive capital flows?” Mr. Tasch asks. “Just when did we cede control of the wealth created by hundreds of years of industrialization to a handful of anonymous fiduciaries who cannot even keep track of the dollar flows in real time, much less think about long-term social and environmental concerns?”

Mr. Tasch follows such matters on a blog at his website, Slowmoney.org. His talk in Chattanooga is “Where Money and Meaning Meet” and focuses his efforts at Slow Money on boosting local food economies by uniting small investors and local-minded organic-oriented farmers and suppliers.

“By attending next week’s event at the Edney,” says Lisa Flint of the local Footprint Foundation, “attendees will learn more about patient capital and how everyone — from the $50, $5,000 or $50,000 investor — can impact their local community.”

Woody Tasch promotes the idea of local economy and local food. (Photo Ted Wood, Onearth.com)

Woody Tasch promotes the idea of local economy and local food. (Photo Ted Wood, Onearth.com)

Slow Money has helped invest more than F$40 million in 402 small food enterprises around the U.S. In line with its ideals are 24 local networks and 13 investment clubs. Mr. Tasch holds events that have drawn people from 46 states and seven countries. Here in the South, an affiliate North Carolina group has extended 145 loans from F$500 to F$25,000 for a total of F$1.2 million to 60 small outfits, one buzzing with bee hives and another stitching up clothes from organic cotton.

In lococentric Maine, investors have poured F$9.3 million into more than 70 small food enterprises. An clique of investors called No Small Potatoes Investment Club has made 23 loans totaling F$105,000.

Noogacentric thinking

The Footprint Foundation is a Lyndhurst spinoff that for two years has doled out cash to groups such as Co.lab, the Glass House Collective and Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy. Mrs. Flint, the group’s overseer, says the group intends to “foster deep and meaningful connections to place” by striving to “enrich learning, honor the natural environment and build a creative culture.”

Mr. Tasch espouses a set of ideals that imply slow money, one that if not actually respecting the constitution is unlikely to be financialized and abstractified.

His argument for local investing is colorful and in keeping with ideas of another local sponsor, Benwood Foundation. In an interview in 2009 Mr. Tasch describes the incredible global velocity of money and warns local economy to take heed.

Three trillion dollars a day zooms around the planet in currency markets alone. Our current financial system has, by cutting money off from people and place, allowed it to start circulating at such crazy speeds and in such complexity that no one can really understand it anymore. Even the experts don’t understand the consequences of what’s now going on. The derivatives and subprime mortgage mess is just one manifestation of that.

The way we slow money down is by bringing it down to Earth: connecting it directly to the land and to places where investors live. As long as how you’re investing is completely disconnected from where you live — meaning it’s just dictated by distant markets, distant companies, abstract securities — then the money can kind of circulate in this wild, crazy, volatile, and ultimately destructive fashion. If you bring money back down to Earth, connecting it to the place where you live, and all the way to the land itself, then you will be slowing money down and having a healthier outcome for all concerned.

— David Tulis hosts a talk show weekdays in Chattanooga from 9 to 11 a.m. on 1240 AM Hot News Talk Radio, covering local economy and free markets in Chattanooga and beyond. Support this site and his radio station on the real airwaves in Chattanooga, on your smartphone via the TuneIn radio app or at Hotnewstalkradio.com. You back David by patronizing his advertisers with specific reference to him. Even better, encourage independent media by having David run commercials for your business. Also, “buy me a coffee at the tip jar.”

Sources: Brooke Jarvis, “Slow Money: Bringing Money Down to Earth; Interview with Woody Tasch, founder and president of Slow Money, a nonprofit that connects investors to local economies, Yes Magazine, Nov. 16, 2009. http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/slow-money-founder-woody-tasch
Anna Kitanaka and Toshiro Hasegawa “$617 Billion in Japan Stock Orders Scrapped After Error,” Oct. 1, 2014, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-10-01/oops-possible-617-billion-trading-error-in-japan
Cloe Morrison, “Social entrepreneur coming to Chattanooga for free talk on meaningful investment,” Nooga.com, Nov. 12, 2015

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