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Wealth & Poverty Review Natural Asset Companies: A Scheme to Profit From the “Degrowth” Agenda with Margaret Byfield

Originally published at The Bill Walton Show

On September 27, 2023, the New York Stock Exchange and the Intrinsic Exchange Group submitted a proposal to the Securities and Exchange Commission to create a new type of company called a “Natural Asset Company”, or “NAC” whose primary purpose would be to manage and grow so-called “ecosystem services” on land throughout the United States.

NACs would be empowered to manage every type of property:  federal, state, and private land, including conservation easements to maximize their so-called “ecological value.”

Critically, what they are not allowed to do is anything considered “unsustainable”including: mining, agriculture that uses traditional fertilizers and machinery, managing timberlands, grazing, hunting, and most every type of recreational activity.

Instead of maximizing traditional economic value, NACs would put this land off limits from any productive purpose involving oil, gas, coal, yellowcake production, lithium mining and processing, steelmaking and anything else essential to national defense that produces CO2, which is their definition of sustainability. 

In other words, everything that makes land valuable to ordinary human beings and to America’s national security.

The goal is to create not only a new kind of company, but also a new asset class that could attract billion of investment dollars, including from global sovereign wealth funds from, say China, Russia, or other nations. (What better way for a foreign adversary to cripple the United States than through locking up America’s natural resources without a fight?)

The greed factor is also front and center in this proposal. By some estimates, trading markets in “natural assets” could reach $100 to $150 trillion with market makers like Black Rock, Goldman Sachs, and big green energy utilities like NextEra, in the thick of the action. 

If these numbers seem fantastic, consider this new math.

Today the value of our existing real economic land assets is estimated to be about $1.5 quadrillion dollars globally. Proponents of these new Natural Assets claim the value of “ecosystem services” to be $5 quadrillion dollars. 

The problem with this estimate is that you can’t get there using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles which measures basic cash flows to describe value and net present value. Instead, it is based on a new accounting system called SEEA EA, invented out of whole cloth by the United Nations, which claim to be able put a monetary value on the ability of NACs to block others from putting land to productive uses. 

There are massive problems with this accounting system. 

There are massive problems with this whole Scheme. 

The SEC and the New York Stock Exchange must know this. To avoid scrutiny and opposition, they have put it on an unprecedented fast track for approval. To read the filings, it looks intentionally confusing, and intentionally made to make it difficult to weigh in on. The Intrinsic Exchange Group is partly owned by the New York Stock Exchange and is backed by the Rockefeller Foundation.

But one thing is clear: it’s their desire to permanently embed the mechanism and monetary values for the disuse of federal lands, easement properties and ultimately private properties in our federal securities laws.  

Joining me to unpack this proposal and its underlying agenda, is Margaret Byfield, the Executive Director of American Stewards of Liberty, a non-profit organization working to protect private property rights and the liberties they secure.

It’s going to be very important to take direct action, make comments, reach out to your lawmakers and try to stop NACs from becoming a reality.  Take Action Here.

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Bill Walton

Senior Fellow, Center for Wealth, Poverty, and Morality
Bill Walton is a Senior Fellow of the Center on Wealth, Poverty, and Morality, and Vice President of the Council for National Policy. He is the chairman of Rappahannock Ventures, LLC (private equity) and Rush River Entertainment (feature film production), which he founded in 2010.