The Lost Stories

Remembering Bill in print — the legacy of Bill Mollison from the pages of the Permaculture International Journal
The Lost Stories are Bill Mollison’s articles published in the print magazine originally named Permaculture, then International Permaculture Journal and finally the Permaculture International Journal that was published between 1978 and 2000.
All stories and other content © Permaculture Australia unless otherwise noted. ……….

1987: An alternative stock market needed

1987, Edition 26, Permaculture

…Bill Mollison

Published as an article in World Visions … and realities

MANY MORE PEOPLE would invest money in ethical systems, even if they obtained less interest, if there was an easily-accessed set of choices.
Insofar as returns on investment goes, the actual record is that ethical portfolios actually pay better than the other kind, so it is simply good sense to invest in good works.
Any wise broker or investor spreads the risk, and some of the many areas that people can invest in today are:

  • actually managed by individuals or family
  • groups, eg. forestry or aquaculture projects
  • managed by a consultancy or development team, eg. village development on land purchased for that purpose.

Personal or household loans

  • to build a new or energy-efficient house
  • to retrofit an energy inefficient home or replace inefficient equipment.

Equity in ethical business — generally, a spread of investment over:

  • existing businesses
  • venture or developmental capital to research or start up businesses.

Purchase of threatened environments 

  • purchase for preservation and research, trusts and gift status or revalued annually for unit resale of unit investments (you can buy tropical rainforest for as low as $4 per acre in Brazil).
  • purchase for rehabilitation and management, eg. putting buffalo back onto a prairie.

Development Projects 

  • the actual purchase and development of lands for aquaculture, villages, special crop, forests.


How can we set up our stock exchange?
First, all ventures need a short prospectus outlining amount needed, project, costs and timing to return, expected profits (modestly stated).
These then need listing with central brokerages or money-collecting centres where they can be put on computer for print-out (prospectus can be called for by investors). In each country a few centres can exchange computer disks, and for each project one of these centres accumulates or collects the capital until the amount needed is gathered. The project is then closed for investment and monies are routed to other unfilled projects or to a central fund for land purchase and development by our trustworthy consultants. Monies are recouped by products, sales and leases.
The ‘epicentres’ are ideal brokerage places where people can come to invest and borrow. The computer (modem or telex) can link centres and the consultancy services can assess prospectuses, develop properties, encourage and find new prospects.
We should all try to develop such a system of active and widespread investments and their associated centres and linkages.

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