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Real Deal: “How the Money Works" in Your Place

Real Deal: “How the Money Works" in Your Place

by Catherine Austin Fitts *

I am sitting looking at a framed check on my desk. The check was written by the Hamilton Securities Group on our J.P. Morgan account. It was dated Sept. 3, 1997, payable to the Africatown Neighborhood Equity and Trust Corporation for $125,000. This was to be the first solari -- a neighborhood investment databank and investment advisor. Shortly thereafter, Hamilton's government contracts were cancelled, our offices were seized and our computer systems and databases destroyed.

It was time to rethink the risk management issues involved in helping 72,000 U.S. neighborhoods understand "how the money works" in their neighborhood. While it was unthinkable to many Americans in 1998 that the Department of Justice was so corrupt, it is not so unthinkable today. That means the market opportunity is emerging to start having the conversation about how we can start a solari.

What is a solari?

A solari is my idea for a locally controlled, private investment databank and investment advisor for a neighborhood. A solari collects and circulates information on how resources work in its place so that a group of people can "vote" in the marketplace or "vote" at the polls in a powerful way. [See]. Once folks in a place understand "how the money works," they can start to get it to work for them.

Should you start a solari? The key to starting anything is for it to be totally energizing for you. It is impossible to determine a sound business plan for a solari until you have a sense of the various opportunities that exist in your neighborhood:

Do you have housing being built for more per unit than what can be produced locally?
Are you paying more for a government contractor through your federal, state or local budget for a job that a small business or neighbor could do for less?

Are your water, energy and other essential services in danger of Enron-type privatization where you and your taxes foot the bill, but they get all the equity value transferred to them at below market prices?
Is data about you and your neighbors being collected by government agencies, then finding it's way into the wrong hands?

The list of potential opportunities is endless. Step one is to collect up a group of your neighbors who you know and trust. An investment club, book club, Rotary, Kiwanis, local women's club or other similar group may be a place to find like-minded folks. Divide up the data collection tasks for the different kinds of operations: taxes, utilities, education, health care, and so forth. Start with the ones that generate the most short-term interest. Look for the opportunities for change that will provide you with short-term improvement in services or time. You are paying the money. Where can you get more performance?

If you learn how the money works in your place, step two or three may be to start a solari. It will be one of the tools that we will use to generate jobs and equity for ourselves, our family and our neighbors.


© Copyright 2002, Catherine Austin Fitts And From The Wilderness Publications, All Rights Reserved. May be copied, redistributed for non-profit purposes only. May not be posted on any Internet web site without express written permission. Contact

- * Catherine Austin Fitts is the President of Solari, Inc. ( and a former Assistant Secretary of Housing – Federal Housing Commissioner in the first Bush Administration. She publishes a column on Scoop which is distributed for free by email - see... Free My Scoop to sign up.

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