Karl Marx, Jay-Z & SGI Funds have a lot in common

Usually the title of these posts IS a myth.  But believe this one is true.  Where did I come up with these seemingly completely unrelated topics?  Oddly, they were in the top 10 financial search words last month.

Karl Marx

Karl-Marx-Monument in Chemnitz
Karl Marx Monument in Chemnitz

First, what he was not.  Marx was neither Russan nor capital-C Communist, despite having written The Communist Manifesto.  He was a law student from a wealthy Jewish family headed by his attorney father.  I’m guessing his unpopularity with the authorities from whom he fled Germany, France & Belgium was due to his central belief that theology would eventually succumb to philosophy.

A prolific journalist & author, Marx was admirable in his focus on fair & efficient political and social processes (such as his belief in a “constitutional republic with freely elected assemblies”.  Like I, he felt wealth and merit needed to be reconnected, without which there would be constant struggle between the economic classes.


Streetart in Katoomba

The first hip-hop billionaire, Jay-Z (aka Shawn Corey Carter) holds the fascination of millions around the world.  We obsess over our billionaires, that’s for sure.  But as perfectly stated in this recent USA Today article, Jay-Z epitomizes what every investor should emulate:

1. Diversify across several sectors and industries.  Jay-Z has his own champagne and congac brands, sports promotions, investments in fashion, Uber & his own Uber-like jet sharing app as well as his own venture capital firm

2. Invest in what you know and love.  This is important because if you don’t love your work and your place in the world (e.g. your investments) you probably won’t be motivated to put in the effort and commitment necessary to be successful.

3. Commit to your goals.  Not everyone can be a billionaire.  In fact, hardly anyone can be.  I would restate this as “pick goals that inspire your commitment”.

Would Marx have liked Jay-Z?  I think so.


Experiencing heavy in-flows of new capital, ESG funds mirror the growing awareness that sensible and ethical companies are more likely than the liars and cheaters to flourish in the future.  ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance & the funds and companies that pass those screens.  

ESG is supposed to be a more evolved, stringent screen than SRI (socially responsible investing) or sustainable investing.  Here’s what they mean, in a nutshell:

  • Environmental- conserving, protecting and even enhancing local and global natural environments
  • Social- treating employees, clients, partners and the communities in which the business operates with respect by following the law, providing quality safe products & services, & contributing to the needs of local communities.
  • Governance- operating in a compliant, equitable and transparent manner.

So I find it encouraging that people are interested in these three topics.


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