We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is an Autonomous Investment?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An autonomous investment is a type of investing activity that is outside the scope of shifts in national income or output, and has more to do with changes in governmental policies or the desire to invest in emerging technologies. Investments of this type often do not have anything to do with the desire to make a profit, although the investor typically does seek to benefit from the strategy in some manner. Many different types of investors engage in this type of activity from time to time, including individual investors, corporations, governments and charitable and other non-profit organizations.

Local, state, and national governments may choose to engage in autonomous investment activity that is designed to provide some sort of benefit to citizens without necessarily leading to any type of revenue generation. One simple example of this type of activity is the decision by a small town to install new street lights in several parts of town. The investment usually triggers the benefits of allowing citizens to feel safer being on those streets at night, which in turn may also mean that more of the citizens will shop at stores located on or near those streets. Indirectly, the activity has the benefit of improving the image of the current government in the eyes of citizens who feel safer and also helps to stimulate the local economy by increasing the chances for after-dark shopping at nearby businesses. While the town does not generate any profits for the investment of installing the new lights, the other benefits make the effort worthwhile in the long run.

In like manner, charitable organizations may engage in autonomous investment that has nothing to do with generating profits or increasing the output levels of the nation’s economy. A local charity may choose to open an after-school program for children of low-income parents, charging little to nothing for the services. This does trigger benefits for the community, such as providing a safe place for children of working parents to gather and allowing parents to manage limited income more efficiently.

The identifying mark of an autonomous investment is the reason behind the activity. Typically, if the investment is made not to generate some sort of tangible profit but to create benefits of some type, it can be classified as autonomous. The paving of roadways, establishment of healthcare and other facilities by charitable organizations and even the investment of funds in the creation of a neighborhood park by those living in the area can rightly be referred to as examples of autonomous investment activities.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By Logicfest — On May 07, 2014

@Vincenzo -- true to an extent. Keep in mind that the health care clinic in your example may inflate the value of the community as a whole, but it probably won't help the property values of homes and businesses located near it. That is an unfortunate downside to such facilities -- people love them, but they don't want to live near them because of the reputed "bad element" attracted to them. That might be an unfair characterization, but that's how it is.

Now, there are a lot of exceptions to that rule. If that same charity decided to build a park, that is something that is considered more desirable and makes the entire community more attractive.

Please keep in mind that I am not suggesting that communities should downplay essential services such as health care clinics for the underprivileged. That's not the case at all. But, there is a stigma attached to some facilities targeted toward helping out the less fortunate and that is a real shame.

By Vincenzo — On May 06, 2014

One characteristic of such investments is how they do actually increase the value of a community. For example, let's say a charity sets up a health clinic for citizens who have no health insurance. No profit is generated by such an endeavor, but it is touted as a benefit -- an amenity of sorts -- that enhances the value of the community.

That increased value shows up in terms of increased home prices. The community is more attractive because the clinic demonstrates the town is one in which citizens look after each other, and that means more demand for homes and more profit to be made for home owners selling houses, real estate agents, etc.

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.