Embracing Change Now: JRF Next Frontiers Conference


Lindsay Storie


I came to the conference not only as the Head of Community for Patriotic Millionaires, a community of millionaires using their unusual voice of wealth to create systemic change through the advocation of a wealth tax, but also as someone with an inherent interest in new thinking on wealth and its redistribution.

Having grown up in South Africa surrounded by a failing society of deep poverty and extreme wealth, I was afforded one of the biggest gifts, a British passport through my parents’ nationality. Moving here as a teenager, I became acutely aware of my privilege and sadness that I was watching a first world country hurtling towards a very similar trajectory to the one I saw in South Africa, deep inequality. Taking on this awareness, I have dedicated my career to finding new ways of assisting wealth holders move beyond philanthropy to opportunities of systemic change and root cause solutions to inequality. 

This is something the Conference offered in abundance. There was an instant air of anticipation and urgency as attendees grappled with the fact that many of the world’s biggest crises are no longer a “tomorrow-problem” but more a “yesterday-problem” that we are still yet to acknowledge and address. Focusing on new paradigms for wealth redistribution and combating inequality, the gathering was a call to action. It challenged progressive wealth holders and stewards to confront their role in reshaping economic structures that perpetuate disparity and suffering.

Redefining Wealth and Responsibility

Opening with the question: What is wealth? For many, it was a fractal exploration that transcended mere financial metrics. Speakers and participants alike called for a radical ontological shift, challenging the status-quo that venerates excess and rethinking wealth as a tool for systemic change rather than personal aggrandisement.

Throughout the sessions, there was a resolute call to decolonise existing systems that inherently favour a privileged few. The assertion that the system is not broken but intentionally designed against the majority underscored the urgency of renewal on fundamentally different terms. Humanising wealth holders emerged as a recurring theme, urging them to recognise excess as a source of fragility rather than strength. As a person not from wealth, there was mutual recognition between us on the need for a back-to-basics approach to change.   

From Dominance to Empathy: A Shift in Mindset

Attendees confronted the paradox of philanthropy being both a commendable act of giving and, at times, a strategic manoeuvre for tax benefits. This duality was dissected through the lens of tax reform—a pivotal step where wealth holders might defy self-interest for the greater good. The anthropology of wealth was explored, illuminating how capitalism dehumanises individuals across the economic spectrum, compelling deeper exploration into the drivers of giving and the disconnect between civil society and wealth holders. In my current role with Patriotic Millionaires, I encounter the complexities of wealth on a daily basis and, above all, the want and awareness from our supporters that we would all benefit from a fair and stable society. 

Challenges and Opportunities

The enormity of the wealth held globally, exemplified by over £10 trillion in family offices, prompted introspection on the responsibility that comes with such vast resources. Discussions navigated the delicate balance between preserving wealth for future generations and societal dangers of hoarding. Proposals to align investment structures more closely with philanthropic aims gained traction, advocating for a holistic approach that integrates financial stewardship with social impact.

A Vision for the Future

The conference concluded with a shared commitment to transform not only economic systems but also the mindsets that perpetuate inequality. Participants were urged to embrace curiosity, humility, and the posture of a welcoming host, fostering inclusive spaces where diverse perspectives can converge. The imperative to invest in imagination and visionary ideas—often sidelined by conventional capital investment criteria—resonated deeply, signaling a shift towards deeper, more meaningful engagements with societal challenges.

Moving Forward

As I reflect on the insights and impassioned discussions, one thing is clear: the journey towards a more just and sustainable global economy requires bold, collective action. It demands that we challenge entrenched norms, reimagine wealth, and redefine our roles as stewards of prosperity. By embracing new paradigms, advocating for systemic change, and nurturing inclusive communities of care, we can pave the way for a future where economic prosperity is equitably shared and humanity thrives in harmony with nature. This collective action is no longer one for tomorrow and together we need systemic change now. The role of wealth holders in driving this change forward is as a key voice that governments and institutions will listen to. Let us carry forward the spirit of inquiry, courage, and collaboration ignited at this conference, forging paths that lead us towards a more equitable and sustainable world.

Lindsay Storie is the Head of Community for Patriotic Millionaires 

Tagged in: #NextFrontiers2024

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