What are you investing in?

Are You Investing in Fruition or Futility

Whether investing in the markets or in more humanitarian endeavors, it is unreasonable to think that anyone is investing merely for the sake of losing money.

Oddly enough, a great many investors in the current alternative energy (and even humanitarian) industries are consistently investing in scarcely anything other than losing propositions. Investing in a singular solution to a complex, systemic problem is not very likely to provide a positive return, financially or in any other form.

Is it possible that the reason behind this is that such investments are virtually non-existent in the current marketplace? Is it even possible to find complex, systemic solutions to current crises that provide both a positive return on investment and viable, long-term solutions to issues of a more global concern?

Would any potential returns from such an investment be worth the risk inherent in such a “radical” investment opportunity? Finally, could such an investment opportunity really help to diversify and enrich the investment portfolio and serve the common good at the same time?

Investments are not limited to financial gain or a positive ROI. To believe such an over-simplification of Investments would be to belittle and even malign the average investor. Investors are unique, just like everybody else.

Each investor is going to have their own criteria based on any number of circumstances from their current financial position, to the diversity (or lack thereof) in their investment portfolio, to personal idiosyncrasies that even they may not be able to fully quantify and explain.

There may even be times when the average investor does invest solely for the purpose of “losing” money. This is perhaps most common at the end of the year as tax liabilities begin to amass, often offset by purchasing precious metals or other assets at full value simply to be able to show a loss, or at least a more limited capital gain.

In the long run however, and over the course of a lifetime, investing merely for the sake of losing money is not a winning strategy or a viable means of staying in business. As strange as it may seem, when it comes to the realm of Alternative Energy, this is exactly what a great many investors are doing.

Investing in alternative energy resources generally involves investing in research and development as very few competitive alternative energy resources are ready to be integrated with the current electrical grid. Fewer still are capable of providing anywhere near the same level of efficiency as the more traditional power generating technologies.

There are of course, some exceptions to this rule, mostly in the form of heavily subsidized industries that provide far more benefit to the politicians and the political donors than it ever will for the people or the environment. That is certainly not to say that there are not some great and realistically viable alternatives, only that they are not currently being integrated into the existing system with any kind of regularity.

On those rare occasions when new alternative energy projects are introduced into the marketplace, they are heavily funded by governments, leaving very few opportunities open for the casual investor. Whatever investments are left over, are generally smaller scale, “one-off” or singular systems for a very limited purpose and scope.

Investing in “Singular Solutions” to complex, systemic problems is rarely going to be a winning proposition. As the old adage goes, it is akin to placing a band aid on a bullet hole. In short, it provides no real, meaningful solution to the underlying cause of the problem. These smaller alternative energy systems will be hard-pressed to provide a financial return substantial enough to attract the individual investor, much less the level of investment necessary for an improved likelihood of success.

The simplest explanation is that they will never be capable of producing a sufficient level of power or financial return to make them economically feasible. This issue is most commonly addressed through investments made by Equity Investors who are able to monetize the sale of the power to be generated through Purchase Agreements with the companies or governments installing these systems, but they are still not overly lucrative and serve only a minor role in most investment portfolios.

This then, begs the question; “Why are people not investing in more meaningful solutions that seek to address the underlying problems?

Such investments are probably not very common because these investment opportunities rarely (if ever) enter the marketplace. Rarer still, would be investment opportunities such as this that are presented to the investor in such a way so as to make them attractive enough for anyone other than the occasional (and errant) Angel Investor to even consider.

What needs to happen is to have such proposals “wrapped” so as to provide the desired solution in addition to having the underlying causes of the problems being addressed in such a manner as to allow them to be resolved. All of this needs to be further packaged into an investment opportunity that makes it financially attractive to the investor. What would such an investment package look like?

The answer would have to be a Systemic Solution that provided for all of these scenarios to be included into a single project or infrastructural effort. Making it more financially viable for the average investor or investment group is also easily resolved with the right group of people planning, designing and implementing the project.

Systemic Design is not a new concept, but it has yet to be effectively introduced into the realm of Alternative Energy, Humanitarian and/or Environmental concerns and projects … until now anyhow.

By establishing such a systemic approach, it is possible, even with larger, more burdensome government projects, to implement these programs in such a way that it provides a long-term, positive return for the original investors, provides for the immediate needs of the project beneficiary and works in such a way so as to provide ongoing and meaningful, effective solutions for the underlying problems that created the new need to begin with.

The most important factor for most investors and/or investment groups is going to be the ability to generate a positive ROI or Return On Investment. At the end of the day, most investors really are investing for the sake of generating a positive return, be it for personal or professional financial gains. A complex, systemic approach to resolving the underlying causes of such issues … the need for alternative energy in this particular case, also allows for the introduction of substantially more profitable inclusions in the initial project and in the long-term operations of that project.

Furthermore, the implementation of a Systemic project allows for the introduction of benefits at the Humanitarian, Environmental and Economic levels, all of which are directly beneficial to the original investor(s). While not all of these individual efforts are profitable in their own right, they all contribute to the establishment of a complex system that will in fact provide for a long-term positive gain for any investment portfolio.

The introduction of a complex, systemic solution to a complex, systemic, underlying cause, will by necessity, cost more to plan, design and implement. In return however, it provides for a financial gain for the monetary investor in addition to a greatly enhanced, positive environmental impact, a positive social impact, and enough public relations coups to “get good press” for the lifetime of the project … which should last substantially longer than any individual lifetime.

A comprehensive program should provide multiple financial streams of income, provide numerous jobs for the impoverished and challenged, and work in a more wholly and completely symbiotic manner with the surrounding ecosystems and local environment. Investing in the proverbial band aid over the bullet hole may make stricter financial sense in some cases, but in the long run, not only does it leave money on the table, but prevents any real solutions that are, in the long run, substantially more profitable for the investor.

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I am an author with nearly fifty years of published writing, though most of my writing in the past 20 years has been for governments, non-governmental agencies, and other groups working towards sustainable development in a more meaningful fashion.

Realistic Approaches to Sustainable Development
Realistic Approaches to Sustainable Development

Sustainability has become little more than a catch phrase these days, designed to be used as a marketing tool to increase sales. Corporate Social Responsibility has become a means to fund radical ideologies ripping the fibers from our social fabric and sowing discord and social unrest. Meanwhile, our self-professed leaders have dropped any pretense of being public servants, and merely seek to promote their corporate donors while largely ignoring the will of the people. Welcome to the brave new world!

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