What your Money Means and how to Use it Well
Reporting on Results, or What a Difference Sobriety Makes

The Parable of the Social Venture Farmer

The social entrepreneur, flying over in his helicopter, owns the farm land as far as the eye can see. What had been family farms have been merged, the homes torn down, the barns replaced by few larger more efficient barns, the farmers hired back as hired hands, or now working in a box store, or fighting in Iraq, or in rehab. The livestock is raised in small pens, and never sees daylight from birth to death. Fertilizer and pig shit flows down the river to the ocean blooming with algae, in a dead zone.

We have increased productivity 35%, and profit 27%. We have also increased the GDP of the community as whole by 11%, as the village stores became national chains, and the farmers went to work in the polymer plant. By cutting prices as well as cost, and increasing production, more hungry people will be fed. We have fewer employees who are better paid and better educated. By all measures they rate us as an excellent employer. We have achieved our targets for people, planet, and profit. Farms on all sides are falling to us. Our growth is projected to make us sole owner of 3,000 square miles in the next three years. But the real joy to me is the good I am doing as a Social Entrepreneur and a Leader. You know sometimes, good things do happen for good people. I owe it all to my professors in Business School. I am deeply grateful for the vision they have given me and the heart I have for the greater good. As payback I was going to give money to some church, but I am not all that religious. Besides investing in my agribusiness is the best possible return I can give to God, country, and whatever for the greater good.

The sophistry here is in measuring only three bottom lines, all managed, all profitable, and neglecting the many thousands of cascading negatives that can only be appreciated by one, on the ground, whose humanity is fully and directly engaged, and for that matter, one whose humanity as been nurtured, fostered, and cultivated within the economy of love. Stunted people create stunted solutions. In this parable, it is not only the veal calf whose life is half lived.