Considerations of just how much her family could both own and effectively manage led them instead to make strategic loans and investments to help local entrepreneurs – people they knew as neighbors and friends. In my novel What’s Left, I was tempted to get into lists of microloans her uncle Dimitri might have made for counterculture ventures, but I backed off instead. There’s enough suggestion of that as it is.
As one line, no longer in the book, expressed it:
More than anything, we’re creating partnership in a network of kindred souls.
Well, I’m still fascinated with butterfly economics and economic multiplier effects and similar arcane concepts, but fiction is more about, well, heart to heart. Big shifts in the final text were made.
That’s not to say Cassia’s family didn’t also invest as a partner in startups, where it might also lend some of its business support expertise on payroll or taxes before selling its interest to the founders once the operation was up and running. It’s something they did with the bookstore and Manoula’s publishing house.
I could see many of their microloans going to people whose work touched on their own – farmers and gardeners, cabinetmakers or plumbers, recording studio technicians, among others.
Well, what’s wrong with small-is-beautiful?
Imagine yourself approaching Dimitri and requesting up to $100,000 to make the world a better place. (Maybe it’s not even for a loan – the family has also established a foundation that makes grants for worthy projects.) What would you do with the money?