Creating A World Without Poverty

Posted by Nipun Mehta on Jan 20, 2008
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Muhammad Yunus, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work pioneering microcredit, is traveling around the U.S. to talk about his new book, "Creating a World Without Poverty."  Some recent Q&A in Seattle, included his focus on "social business" that didn't depend on outside funding:

Q: In your book, you write that corporate social responsibility is basically a failure.

A: I won't say conclusively it doesn't work at all, but in most cases the idea is used more for public relations. Even if it works, it's still done in a charity way. It doesn't lead to meaningful results.

Q: How is social business different?

A: In social business you have established an institution. It has its own life and it's self-sustainable. It continues to strive to reach the social goal you set and does not depend on outside funding. It can expand.

Q: But isn't human nature basically selfish?

A: No. Human beings are multidimensional. They want to make money at the same time they want to be helpful to other people. They have grand goals and these are not reflected in the business world. Creating another business format would allow some of these features to be accommodated. Human beings are not all devils. They are not all angels. They have many facets to them.

Q: How do you reach young people bombarded with consumer messages to sacrifice the latest Xbox or the lucrative stock options to help someone else?

A: If you leave the whole world in the hands of profit maximizers, that's what they will do. They push people to buy things they don't need, to adopt a lifestyle that is not sustainable, to be wasteful.The profit maximizers make us believe we are the last generation on the planet and we can plunder it.

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Comments (2)

  • Sabine McNeill wrote ...

    Hi,

    This is just to let you know that I put a link on www.yunusphere.net where I promote the book and its contents.

    With best wishes for your work,
    Sabine

  • Sabine McNeill wrote ...

    Hi,

    This is just to let you know that I put a link on www.yunusphere.net where I promote the book and its contents.

    With best wishes for your work,
    Sabine