Transition Network aims to make necessary, large-scale, pervasive changes to the infrastructure of our civilisation and to our society while appealing for funds from charitable organisations and grant-making bodies, much as a donkey sanctuary might.
In a period of capital squeeze, small business, local businesses have less access to captial than ever, because the monetary runes dictate that large, asset stripping organisations make better investments than local, productive, resilient, enterprises.
Those who have heeded the 'Move your money' campaigns are now using their money for sticking plaster solutions - credit unions are a boon to the poor, and they help deleverage the banking system, but why are they the only game on town?
'Ethical investing' as marketed by the city, is about getting a return on capital while doing no evil. 'Impact investing' may salve the consciences of the guilty rich, but even this is not the ethics of transition.
So what about capital that wants to create employment, stay local, spread the risk, hedge and mitigate against economic collapse, and maybe even provide a return as well? It is much easier and safer to invest in the Chinese high street and to share the benefits with a long chain of finance professionals, than to invest in my own high street or local cottage enterprises.
A really committed investor could of course seek out local entrepreneurs and work with lawyers to draw up loan contracts. It is of course possible to to lend £1000 at a time, and exhort local businesses to support each other and hence, the investment. But I don't know anyone that committed. The lawyers and the courts and the Inland Revenue are all geared for efficiency, not resilience.
I want to be able to go into my local solicitors' and buy local bonds at £1000 a pop. I want to know that the money is managed under trust law. Then I want to attend a quarterly meeting in which bondholders decide how best to invest the capital. I may or may not need a financial return on the bonds, but if I could get perks from the businesses, I would feel much more engaged.