Thomas Piketty showed that returns on capital are greater than economic growth in his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which leads to reinforcing cycles of growing wealth inequality. Those without access to capital — a burden borne in Boston by working-class communities of color — fall further and further behind. It will take a purposeful re-allocation of capital to address inequality. Today, I attended a webinar for the Ujima Fund:
The Ujima Fund is a democratic investment vehicle raising capital to finance small businesses, real estate and infrastructure projects in Boston’s working-class Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color, as part of the larger Boston Ujima Project. Ujima uses a participatory budgeting process in combination with traditional underwriting to put economic development decisions in the hands of community members. The Ujima Fund is raising capital from investors and institutions from across the country, Ujima Voting Members (current and displaced working class Boston residents, grassroots partner organizations, community business owners and their employees) and Solidarity Members (non-voting members). The Boston Ujima Project invites investors from all walks to join us in financing an economy that grows local wealth in our city and builds community power for social change.
I still have a few questions, but it’s likely I’ll invest a small amount in this worthy financial innovation.