The Clean Money Revolution; Rethinking Money’s Impact on the World

Posted on: September 19, 2018

By Karin Mizgala, C0-Founder and CEO Money Coaches Canada

Much is written about money; usually its prescriptive advice for making more. However, in The Clean Money Revolution: reinventing power, purpose, and capitalism,—Joel Solomon wants us to think about the impact our money has on the world.

By some estimates, over the next 30 years, $50 trillion will transfer from the baby boomer generation to the millennials. The biggest transfer of wealth ever, and that’s just North America. Joel, a baby boomer himself, sees the potential for, in his words, “an economy that serves both people and planet.”

An economy built on clean money.

Joel defines clean money as “money aligned with a purpose beyond self-interest.” Meaning; “Clean money thinks through where materials came from, who assembled them, and whether that process was just or unjust, regenerative or destructive.”

Throughout the book, Joel is very candid about his challenges—personal, health and philosophical. He admits that the book is written “through the lens of an older, rich, white male heterosexual—living in one of the safest, most prosperous places on the planet.” But as his story unfolds, we see that even though he was born into wealth, he has also dealt with antisemitism and a genetic kidney disease that claimed his father’s life, and threatened his own. He could easily have made personal comfort his priority, but instead, he has been driven to do the maximum amount of social good with all his assets—money, time and himself. As a founder of Renewal Funds, a $98 million mission venture capital firm in Vancouver, he is a great example of putting one’s own money into action.

Joel Solomon

Beyond the memoir aspect, The Clean Money Revolution is also the history of a grassroots movement of socially responsible investing and entrepreneurship. A movement that has been gaining momentum since the 80s, it may well reach a tipping point and find its way into the mainstream consciousness in the coming decade.

Joel Solomon is deeply inspiring to me. When Sheila Walkington and I launched Money Coaches Canada in 2010, one of our founding principles was to help Canadians align their money with their goals and their values. In a “more is better” world, it’s not always easy to maintain these ideals for our clients, and for ourselves. Joel’s book is a welcome reminder that we are not alone in our vision.

The examples throughout the book, of a mission-based approach to money—a regenerative approach—are incredibly motivating. Money can provide security and sustainability, especially when it is connected to ethics, love and decency. This book is filled with the stories of people who are shaking things up—making a real difference in their communities—and across the world.

Joel writes, “Enough of the winner-takes-all mentality. We can blend the best of the service and helping professions with the ingenuity of the marketplace. Business can be designed and led for complementing and collaborating with the public sector, creating a harmony of intelligent stewardship and innovation. Values melded with sophisticated strategy can accomplish great things.”

The Clean Money Revolution is a book for today. But it’s one you wish you had the opportunity to read five years earlier.

It’s a counterpoint to the pessimism, anger and greedy consumption that surrounds us in the news, on the internet and in our communities. This is a hopeful book; not based on fantasy, but on a real world mind shift that is happening all around us.

We don’t need to be wealthy investors to act more intentionally with our money. What are you passionate about? What world would you like to see? What are you happy to own? Are the investments you have in alignment with what you value and believe in? Business leaders and entrepreneurs at all levels—can make sure that they are thinking about the long-term impact of their businesses. Ambition can, and must, be a force of collective good.

We decide where we spend our dollars. We can support businesses that care about the impact their products have on people and our planet. We also decide who we will be, how we will act and what we will value.

We can all take Joel Solomon’s advice when he says, “Let’s be billionaires of good deeds.”


The Clean Money Revolution by Joel Solomon is published by New Society Publishers.

Category(s): Book Reviews, Relationship to money
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