chapter  11
15 Pages

Financial Capital

Economists will tell you that financial capital shouldn’t really be included in any model of this kind since it’s not a capital stock in its own right, but just a means of exchange between other kinds of capital. That may be so, but the uses to which financial capital are put have a huge impact upon the prospects of us ever achieving a genuinely sustainable society – from the role money plays in our own lives, all the way through to the way today’s capital markets operate, with their increasingly destructive emphasis on short-term profit maximization in the service of disloyal and footloose investors. That makes it all the harder for companies to balance the interests of other stakeholders, even if (as we will explore in much greater detail in Chapter 14) there now exists a robust and persuasive ‘business case’ for companies getting themselves sorted on their key social, environmental and ethical responsibilities. And there are still those, of course, who believe that money is indeed the root of all evil – the principal source of psychological alienation and unsustainable lifestyles in today’s consumer capitalism.