Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism

 
List Price: $14.95

Our Price: $8.51

You Save: $6.44 (43%)

 


Product Description

In the last two decades, free markets have swept the globe. But traditional capitalism has been unable to solve problems like inequality and poverty. In Muhammad Yunus¡¯ groundbreaking sequel to Banker to the Poor, he outlines the concept of social business¡ªbusiness where the creative vision of the entrepreneur is applied to today¡¯s most serious problems: feeding the poor, housing the homeless, healing the sick, and protecting the planet. Creating a World Without Poverty reveals the next phase in a hopeful economic and social revolution that is already underway.

Customer Reviews:

  • Highly recommend this book
    This book is truly revolutionary in that it tries to create a new form of capitalism that addresses the human desire to help others as well as that to make money....more info
  • Thought-provoking proposal
    In this excellent, provocative book, Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus sets forth his vision for a new kind of enterprise, social business, managed according to businesslike principles but with the uncapitalistic objective of social benefit. This is no untried, pie-in-the-sky proposal. Yunus pioneered this business model when he founded the world-famous microcredit financial institution, Grameen Bank. More recently, working with France's Groupe Danone, he set up a business to produce and market fortified yogurt in Bangladesh. This book tells the story of the author's involvement in social businesses and offers stimulating suggestions for their future evolution. getAbstract recommends it to forward-thinking business leaders and entrepreneurs who want their projects to benefit not just themselves but their societies at large....more info
  • broadening the ownership of capital
    Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism, Muhammad Yunus, Public Affairs, 2007

    Muhammad Yunus is a hero to those of us who seek to broaden the ownership of business. As a Bangladeshi economics professor, he wanted to do something about the crushing hunger and poverty he saw around him. He gathered 42 borrowers from the village near his campus and lent them a total of $27 from his own pocket. He followed that by guaranteeing bank loans to the poor. In 1983, he started Grameen Bank, which shared with him the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. The results, from his acceptance speech:

    "Today, Grameen Bank gives loans to nearly 7.0 million poor people, 97
    percent of whom are women, in 73,000 villages in Bangladesh. . . . Since
    it opened the bank has given out loans totaling about US $6.0 billion. The repayment rate is 99 percent. Grameen Bank routinely makes a profit. . . .
    58 percent of our borrowers have crossed the poverty line."

    Grameen Bank has become the model for a worldwide microcredit movement. By 2006, microloans had been extended to 100 million of the world's poorest families.

    In this book, Professor Yunus argues for a new structure, the "social business," which is "a business that pays no dividends. It sells products at prices that make it self-sustaining. The owners of the company can get back the amount they've invested in the company over a period of time, but no profit is paid to investors in the form of dividends. Instead, any profit made stays in the business--to finance expansion, to create new products or services, and to do more good for the world."

    Governments, charities and "profit-maximizing businesses" are not enough to solve the problems of poverty, disease and environmental degradation, Professor Yunus argues; "we need a new type of business that pursues goals other than making personal profit--a business that is totally dedicated to solving social and environmental problems."

    He makes a distinction between social businesses and "socially-responsible" businesses, which are intended to serve a social objective, while making a profit. They have a fatal flaw, according to Professor Yunus, because their executives "will gradually inch toward the profit-maximization goal, no matter how the company's mission is designed."

    The social business is intended to make a profit, but not to pay dividends. It would plan to pay back the amount invested over time, which might be from five to 20 years. Shareowners would continue to own the business after they were repaid their investment. The motive of making a profit on the shares would be replaced by pride in achieving a social objective. Many of the investors would be individuals and institutions that make charitable gifts. They would see the benefits from a business that was to return their funds, which they could use to invest in more social businesses. (However, earning enough after-tax profits to cash out investors in five to 20 years is a big hurdle for a new business. It could put the social business at a real competitive disadvantage in pricing its products and services. Most U.S. businesses don't pay any dividends, while many others keep dividends at less than a three percent yield on the shares' market value.)

    "Who will invest in a social business?" This question is a section of the book. The answer given is that money will come from people who would otherwise support charities, as well as from charitable foundations and from businesses that fund charitable activities. A tax exemption could provide government support for social businesses. Shares in social businesses would be traded in aftermarkets, with the value determined by "the social benefit produced," rather than profit expectations.

    What about capital needs larger than those served by Grameen Bank and the microcredit movement? The book lists some 25 members of the "Grameen Family of Companies," which include social businesses and support organizations. Grameen Fund provides venture capital, taking a 51% equity ownership. Grameen Business Promotion Company guarantees loans from Grameen Bank of up to $10,000 or more. Grameen has recently entered joint ventures with Danone, the world's largest yogurt company, and Intel.
    A huge potential project described is "to create world-class port facilities for the growing economies of Bangladesh as well as her neighbors, and to build a network of superhighways to connect those countries with the port facilities." The money would come from "social investors" or donor countries, who would later sell the project to a trust. In turn, the trust would sell "shadow shares" to poor people. These "shadow shares" would not represent ownership of the facilities but would entitle holders to any dividends declared by the trust board. Shares could be purchased on credit, to be paid from dividends. The shares could only be sold back to the trust. (If this project goes forward, perhaps Professor Yunus would consider having the shares be direct ownership, with voting rights, so that the poor families could be part of a community of business owners.)

    Grameen Bank's great success flies against some basic economic assumptions, according to Professor Yunus. One is that "all people are motivated purely by the desire to maximize profit." (By "fear and greed," in Wall Street terms.) Another "is the assumption that the solution to poverty lies in creating employment for all." Self-employment is the alternative supported by Grameen Bank. Millions of its borrowers have crossed the poverty line because they now have earnings from both their labor and their invested capital. (The next progression is when individuals have enough income from their capital alone that they don't need to sell their labor. They can be the ones who devote their time, and discretionary investment income, to solving social problems.)

    There is a brief section in the book that describes a second kind of social business, one "owned by the poor or disadvantaged" where "the social benefit is derived from the fact that the dividends and equity growth . . . will go to benefit the poor." Grameen Bank itself is "a social business by virtue of its ownership structure," since 94% of its shares are held by its borrowers. In 2006, it earned $20 million and paid dividends to its shareowners.

    The error of most programs to alleviate poverty, Professor Yunus writes, is that they assume that providing jobs and job skills is what is needed. "But if you spend enough time living among the poor, you discover that their poverty arises from the fact that they cannot retain the genuine results of their labor. And the reason for this is clear: They have no control over capital. The poor work for the benefit of someone else who controls the capital." (Beyond microcredit could be broadening the ownership of capital so that the formerly poor can become independent of the return on their labor.)

    ...more info
  • An inspiring success story of a new "social" business model
    I've just finished reading the book from Muhammad Yunus - the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, and I cannot give it less than 5 stars. It is an inspiring book that can touch your heart and motivate you to fight against poverty. At the same time, it did not quite match my expectations in terms of content, so I'd like to make clear in this review what you should and should not expect from this great book.

    First of all, Muhammad Yunus presents his vision of the social business. It is a powerful idea based on challenging the assumption of one-dimensional human beings that aim at maximizing profit. This concept lies at the core of established economic theories, and supports the current notion of the business that should maximize value for its shareholders. The social business is totally dedicated to solving social or environmental problems. It is different from charities or NGO's as it does not generate losses, and it's different from profit-maximizing businesses as it does not pay dividend.

    Furthermore, the author gives an account of real social businesses that he has created. It starts with Grameen Bank, the microcredit organization providing banking services to the poor people from Bangladesh, including beggars. Grameen Bank is a huge success story, and its model has been reapplied in numerous countries. Another example is Grameen-Danone yoghurt factory that aims at improving the diet of poor Bangladeshi children. It's been recently opened as a joint venture between the Danone corporation and Grameen Bank, and it follows the social business model as described by Yunus.

    Finally, the reader is confronted with a vision of the world where poverty can only be seen in museums. I would compare this part of the book to a manifesto that describes the building blocks of a new world where social business can flourish, the environmental problems are resolved by mutual consensus between nations, and the information and communication technologies help the developing nations to participate in and benefit from the globalized market.

    It is important to note what you should not expect from this book. It definitely isn't an instruction, or a how-to guide for creating a social business. It isn't a science book either - instead of presenting sound models and theories, the author focuses on his vision and experience, and the book is an account of real-life stories and examples.

    The value of Creating a World Without Poverty lies in the inspiration it provides, in fascinating real-life examples of the author's journey to eliminate poverty in his country. It may sometimes sound like a science-fiction vision, but the example of Grameen Bank shows that nothing described in this book is impossible. It's a must-read....more info
  • Excellent primer for the emerging field of social businesses
    As someone in the midst of trying to make a small business run within the lines of corporate social responsibility, I've really wrestled with the inherent problems with the whole "triple-bottom-line" movement. Primarily, I've wrestled with how one chooses which of the many bottom lines as they compete over and against each other. Yunus tackles this issue head on with his idea of the "social business" that is a single-bottom-line business: the bottom line of social transformation. I particularly like that he builds his case around the remarkable example of the Grameen-Danone social business partnership in Bangladesh. Time will tell if that experiment proves sustainable, but nonetheless, it's super helpful to have something tangible to point to rather than just a series of ideas or arguments. Because Muhammad Yunus' work with the Grameen Bank has won him the right to preach without real data, it's all the more inspiring to hear his examples from the dozens of other social businesses within the Grameen family. I should mention that the last 1/3rd of the book veers into some potentially "wishful-thinking" territory, I'd nevertheless heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in the field, and was glad to give it 5 stars....more info
  • Social Business, a concept that can save this world
    When I bought this book, my expectations were primarily to get a deeper insight into micro credit, since Prof Yunus is best known for this powerful means for empowering the poor to free themselves from the shackles of poverty. However, from the first chapter itself, it was abundantly cleat that this book is about the novel concept of Social Business, a paradigm shift in the way we look at business. We have all along assumed that Business and profits inseparable Siamese twins, and the "aim of all business is to produce a surplus" and that the surplus is always assumed to be in the form of profits for the shareholders. On the other hand when we think of social welfare, we assume that this sector that includes Health Care, Sanitation, Primary Education, Eradication of communicable diseases etc are ideal cases for Government to take care, and if it falls short, NGOs and charitable organizations step in. These activities by definition need investments with no returns at least in tangible terms. Tax collections and charities from individuals and trusts are spent with no expectation of financial returns.

    Between these two extremes, and mutually exclusive zones, lies the concept of a Social Business as propounded by Prof Yunus, and I am amazed by the enormous potential that this form of Organization can unleash to transform this planet, especially for half of the world's population that lives on less than a couple of dollars a day.

    The Grameen Danone venture in Bangladesh is a classic example of a Social Business as explained in most chapters of the book. The objective of this organization is to maximize distribution of nutritious yoghurt to poor children in Bangladesh, who otherwise do not receive essential nutrition from their regular diet of carbohydrates. The product "Shokti Doi" is a highly affordable, tasty and nutritious product, packaged in 80 gram units. In order to be acceptable to the children, it has to be tasty- a little sweet. It competes with all other popular branded yoghurts in the market in terms of texture and taste, yet is far superior in terms of nutritious value and vitamins and has to be very affordably priced. While the conventional producers aim at maximizing consumption of their product with the aim of maximizing revenue and profits, the Grameen Danone venture aims at maximizing the reach of this product to the target segment with the aim of improving the health of poor children through this nutritional input. While conventional manufacturers aim at economies of scale by erecting large scale plants and linking the national distribution through automation of supply chain and cold chains, the focus of the Grameen Danone venture is to set up small scale local plants, with local inputs and produce just enough to meet local needs. Surprisingly the latter approach proves to be cost effective, and with the help of local Grameen women, the product is distributed to the target segment within 48 hours of its manufacture, eliminating the need for expensive cold chains.

    Investors in a social business are not giving away money as in the case of a charity, where they forget their money once it is donated. The Social Business is self sustainable financially, and gives back the original investments to the investors over a period of time, and nothing more. The investors do not receive any profits or dividends from the Social Business. The profits are retained for further growth and not distributed as dividends.

    The Social business executes the laudable social objectives with the missionary zeal of a charity, with the efficiency and speed of a profit maximizing business. Hence, we have a unique business model to solve substantial social problems, as demonstrated by Grameen Danone in maximizing nutrition and health in poor children through affordable yoghurt.

    The argument that social objectives and business goals are two different criteria that cannot go together (or that social welfare is at best a byproduct of a commercial business) is challenged and Prof Yunus makes out a very compelling case for a new form of business that can address global problems. It is amply demonstrated that free markets fail to address social issues that need large scale investments while government spending and initiatives of charities are inefficient and many times financially and economically unviable to achieve sustainable results.

    It is time that we pay serious attention to the concept of Social Business through social MBA programs, public and private sector cooperation and necessary legislation to define this form of business so as to ensure that the governance structures, business processes and accounting standards emerge to establish the new form of organization that can play a major role the solving global problems, especially in relation to elimination of poverty from the face of his earth.

    A well deserved five star rating for this classic that has the power to change this world, forever and for the better.
    ...more info
  • An inspiring success story of a new "social" business model
    I've just finished reading the book from Muhammad Yunus - the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, and I cannot give it less than 5 stars. It is an inspiring book that can touch your heart and motivate you to fight against poverty. At the same time, it did not quite match my expectations in terms of content, so I'd like to make clear in this review what you should and should not expect from this great book.

    First of all, Muhammad Yunus presents his vision of the social business. It is a powerful idea based on challenging the assumption of one-dimensional human beings that aim at maximizing profit. This concept lies at the core of established economic theories, and supports the current notion of the business that should maximize value for its shareholders. The social business is totally dedicated to solving social or environmental problems. It is different from charities or NGO's as it does not generate losses, and it's different from profit-maximizing businesses as it does not pay dividend.

    Furthermore, the author gives an account of real social businesses that he has created. It starts with Grameen Bank, the microcredit organization providing banking services to the poor people from Bangladesh, including beggars. Grameen Bank is a huge success story, and its model has been reapplied in numerous countries. Another example is Grameen-Danone yoghurt factory that aims at improving the diet of poor Bangladeshi children. It's been recently opened as a joint venture between the Danone corporation and Grameen Bank, and it follows the social business model as described by Yunus.

    Finally, the reader is confronted with a vision of the world where poverty can only be seen in museums. I would compare this part of the book to a manifesto that describes the building blocks of a new world where social business can flourish, the environmental problems are resolved by mutual consensus between nations, and the information and communication technologies help the developing nations to participate in and benefit from the globalized market.

    It is important to note what you should not expect from this book. It definitely isn't an instruction, or a how-to guide for creating a social business. It isn't a science book either - instead of presenting sound models and theories, the author focuses on his vision and experience, and the book is an account of real-life stories and examples.

    The value of Creating a World Without Poverty lies in the inspiration it provides, in fascinating real-life examples of the author's journey to eliminate poverty in his country. It may sometimes sound like a science-fiction vision, but the example of Grameen Bank shows that nothing described in this book is impossible. It's a must-read....more info
  • Someone rewrite the Capitalist Textbooks
    Yunus has refined the problems of the current capitalist structure by divulging common sense and promoting the new idea of a social business. Here is a book loaded with optimistic ideals for a brighter future that anyone will doubtlessly enjoy, though many may also be skeptical. One looks for meaning in life, a desire unsatisfied by the PMBs (profit-maximizing business) of today. Everyday, citizens of the developed world are bombarded with the onslaught of advertising promoting products, whereas Yunus suggests for the new social businesses to serve a similar function to public service announcements, promoting healthy lifestyles. In a world where the poor are shunned and poverty deemed an inevitable problem, nothing can be done. However, Yunus suggests that we rid society of the ills of poverty by rejecting this idea and striving towards a goal to end poverty. "Creating a World Without Poverty" is an engaging journey from front to back that serves as a beacon providing aspiring entrepreneurs with a chivalrous goal to solve the problems that too often are left for the next generation....more info
  • An Absolute Must Read
    I became familiar with Social Enterprise when I did a Google search "how to change the world" on Friday evening 7.13.07. I am a thoroughly enthusiastic person, but I don't know that I have ever been so electrified as I was when I made the incredible discovery that all the ideas I had had for years, and all the energies I was investing to make a difference, had a home in Social Enterprise, and I had found that I am a Social Entrepreneur! I KNEW I wasn't just idealistic or crazy, but that I was on to some very powerful ideas, and finding the world of Social Enterprise has been extremely validating and invigorating for me. Following a discussion on the future of capitalism with some good friends of mine in Austin, the next morning I was in Whole Foods and came across this book with the subtitle: Social Business & The Future of Capitalism. Of course I was more than familiar with Yunus, and was aware of this book even, but hadn't yet picked it up. As a follow up to my discussion with Matthew & Ruthie, I decided to buy the book. WOW. I don't know what trends of thinking you have in the channels of your mind, but I have been affirmed over and over and thrilled to see and know, as Yunus continues to un-pack for me, and to put in to very grasp-able wording, what I myself see for the future! It's kinda fun to know that my thinking is so parallel to a Nobel Peace Prize winner.....anyway, for me, this has been a GEM of a book. I highly recommend it to you as well. If you are traveling down this way of Social Enterprise, as far as I am concerned, we should be reading and learning all that we can so that we can best help others. Even if we are "only" encouraged in what we already know- isn't that empowering???? But I think you just can't help but pick up something- and I think this would also be a great book to introduce someone to this way of thinking. I have more than several friends that I want to share this book with - perhaps Matthew & Ruthie for starters!
    ...more info
  • High on rhetoric, short on action
    Professor Yunus' book pales in comparison to his Banker to the Poor - this current book is light on action and heavy on rhetoric. It does tell a story about how he was able to create a social enterprise - using his connections as a Nobel Prize winner and book author.

    It does not give any type of action plan on how the typical person could arrange a social business or even more their company more toward a social function. I was disappointed as it was more a book of opinions and far-flung ideas about how to create institutions like social stock markets, etc., and little about how to actionably help the poor.

    In all, an interesting book, but mostly due to Yunus' writing style and easy of telling stories. It contains some short history but not enough action. I highly prefer C.K. Prahalad's Fortune at the Bottom of The Pyramid for more direct guidance on how this has been done....more info
  • good book
    Very good book that opens your eyes to our responsibilities to our race. Ynunus is a fine example of natural instinct to do the right thing....more info
  • Outstanding Human Leadership
    The book, somewhat autobiographical, first chronicles the formation of the revolutionary system of microcredit in Bangladesh, and then discusses Yunas's ideas for new "social businesses". Inspiring reading....more info
  • It wasn't the original book
    The cover is the same you see in the picture. However it's removable paper cover, meaning it's not the original book. Someone got the original book, made thousands of cookies in a blue cover book, and added this beautiful removable paper cover to it.

    The bootom line is I bought thinking it was the original book, but it wasn't. However, the text is the same, so I'm going to enjoy it anyway!...more info
  • "the missing piece of capitalism"
    "No one who cares about humanity," writes Muhammad Yunus, "is satisfied with a world in which a few hundred million people enjoy access to all the resources of the planet, while billions more struggle to survive." But that's our world. Yunus cites one study that concluded that in the year 2000, "the richest 1 percent owned 40 percent of the world's assets, and the richest 10 percent owned 85 percent. By contrast, the bottom half of the world's population owned barely 1 percent of the planet's assets."

    This disparity of resource distribution is wrong in practice, says Yunus. With globalized capitalism devouring diminishing resources, it's unsustainable; it also threatens global security. But extreme poverty is wrong in principle, too, because it deprives billions of human beings of the most basic of all human rights, the right to live a decent life. For over thirty years, Muhammad Yunus has worked with remarkable creativity, perseverance and vision to rectify these stubborn inequities. Most people know him as the founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Today the Grameen Bank gives collateral free micro-loans to 7 million of the poorest of the poor in Bangladesh (97% of whom are women). Since its inception they have made loans totaling $6 billion, with a repayment rate of 99%. Yunus tells this story in his autobiographical bestseller Banker to the Poor; Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty (1999, 2003).

    His newest book continues the story of the many and latest permutations of the Grameen vision to eradicate poverty. This includes a stable of twenty-five Grameen replicants that specialize in everything from solar energy and internet kiosks to fish ponds, textiles, cell phone ladies, and livestock breeding. But all these are mere "stepping stones" in Yunus's fertile imagination. The focus of his newest book is what he calls "social business." While normal businesses must focus on profit-maximization, and can even be sued by shareholders if they don't, a "social business" is what Yunus calls a "non loss, non-dividend" business whose primary objective is some social benefit. A social business competes in the market place with every other business, it must cover its costs, and it reinvests profits back into the company. This is a far more radical idea than mere corporate social responsibility, which in his mind tends to window-dressing and has an inherent conflict of interest between the requirement to maximize profit and the intention to do good.

    Sound crazy? Well, read this book and its extended case study of how Grameen partnered with Groupe Danone of France to create what Yunus calls "the world's very first consciously designed multinational social business," launched in 2006. This was followed by Grameen's eye care hospitals. He thus envisions in social businesses a "giant leap" forward for addressing poverty in a scalable, replicable way. "Social business," he argues, "is the missing piece of the capitalist system." They do what government, NGOs, charity, and multi-lateral organizations like the World Bank can never do. Yunus is the quintessential dreamer--his wish list for the world of 2050 has nineteen bullet points; but read this book and his previous one and you'll also see that he's the consummate doer. ...more info
  • Good Intensions, but not Completely Good
    I know that my review will be unpopular, especially in light of someone else who said this book deserves 100 stars. When I first read that Mr. Yunus said that our children will one day go to museums and will talk about how people used to be in poverty, I was inspired. An optimistic view like this is exactly what this world needs more of I thought. Then I started to read exactly what this Nobel Peace Prize winner is doing to make poverty disappear, and I was let down. For all who do not know, Mr. Yunus is a pioneer in giving small loans to people, especially women, and charging them interest when they repay the loans. That is it, in a nutshell. While I believe it is a noble thing to give poor people money that would not be able to go to a bank to get a loan, I can't fully accept that interest is being charged because it conflicts with a verse in the Quran (2:275) which says that interest (riba) is a sin. Riba is a loan with the condition that the borrower will return to the lender more than the quantity borrowed.

    Now what the heck does Islam have to do with saving people from poverty you might ask? God does not want these people to suffer. I agree with that. But he also does not want us to solve our problems through means which are considered sinful. Mr. Yunus has not fully addressed this issue and he has merely argued that the lack of excessive interest in micro-lending is consistent with the Islamic prohibition of usury. Islam has nothing against Capitalism and it encourages free trade, but Allah has made guidelines for trade and that includes not making a profit off of money itself.

    There is debate in Islam on whether excessive interest or interest in general is forbidden with the latter being the majority opinion. But Yunus says that his microcredit is moderate and not excessive at all.
    It has been reported that borrowers have become swamped with debt and it has brought some communities down. The interest charged by Grameen Bank is higher compared to that of traditional banks so if a person has trouble repaying the loan in a given time, he or she will suffer financially. He mentions on his website that the Indian Prime Minister called him a messiah, yet a former Prime Minister of Bangladesh, his own country, called him corrupt. I would refer you to read "Is micro-credit a macro trap?"

    He says something on p55 that I think really brings the issue of poverty to its roots. He says when men make money, they spend it on themselves and when women make money, they spend it on the whole family. In Islam, a man must take care of his family. It is his responsibly, not the woman. When I say man, I mean, Father, husband, brother, etc. If he does not fulfill his duties, then I guess we need microcredit to save the day. My point is that Islam is the answer to poverty. It is the way and it is the light. Its not just about getting money to the poor, it's about a whole system of life that is consistent with justice. There should not be one woman in Bangladesh or anywhere in the world who must work for money. They should only have the option to work. We have men, who are Muslim,that are not taking their duties seriously and everyone suffers because of that. We have enough food in the world to feed everybody and still have some left over, but we still have people suffering from hunger. It is not a lack of resources; it is a lack of justice in the distribution process. Americans throw out 200,000 tons of food that can be eaten every day. There is so much that I can say on the economic conditions that we are facing but I wont. My advice would be to verify every piece of information that you get before you accept it.
    ...more info
  • A noble dream
    Poverty is a threat to peace, hence the Nobel Peace Prize.
    But his arguments for social business are also a contribution to modern economic theory.

    I first read the epilogue ( the lecture for the Nobel Prize), which summarizes the ideas.

    Recommended for anyone interested in human development , in particular the situation of the "bottom billion"....more info
  • "Creating A World Without Poverty" by Muhammad Yunus
    In "Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism," the follow up to "Banker To The Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty", Muhammad Yunus describes a new economic entity he calls the "social business." In short, this is an organization that has a specific social goal as opposed to regular business, for which profit is the only goal.

    Yunus is most famous for receiving the Nobel Prize in 2006 along with his Grameen Bank, which is the world's largest maker of microloans. Since then, microlending has come into vogue, and the term has become very popular, though I venture that many people who use the term do not understand the implications. The idea is exciting enough that you don't need to understand; money is given like charity, but then gotten back like an investment. It's like the mystical quarter on a string that allows you unlimited candy from the vending machine. Except, now it's real.

    Yunus is not the inventor of microlending, but the first person to effectively practice it on a large scale. He says, "it was appropriate that the Nobel committee in 2006 chose to award Grameen Bank, not the Nobel Prize for Economics, but the Nobel Prize for Peace. By lifting people out of poverty, microcredit is a long-term force for peace" (105). In Bangladesh, the only country in which Grameen Bank operates "80 percent of poor families have already been reached with microcredit" (66). The evidence shows that Bangladesh has undergone many improvements in quality of life for the poor that can specifically be attributed to microlending.

    The reason that this book is almost 250 pages is because Yunus is serious about proposing Social Business as an idea, and he lays out strategies for social entrepreneurs and pre-emptively tackles the naysayers. Yunus is a man who knows his audience. I will leave you with this:

    "Young people all around the world, particularly in rich countries, will find the concept of social business very appealing. Many young people today feel frustrated because they cannot recognize any worthy challenge that excites them within the present capitalist system. When you have grown up with ready access to the consumer goods of the world, earning a lot of money isn't a particularly inspiring goal. Social business can fill this void" (39). ...more info

 

 
Old Release Old Products