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Creating a World Without Poverty

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Creating a World Without Poverty

Social Business and the Future of Capitalism

Public Affairs,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

“Social business” has no profit motive at all. Its goal is simply this: to change the world.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
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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.


The Problem with Capitalism

Capitalism has many advantages, but it has just as many limitations and deficiencies. It lacks an ethical foundation or social conscience. Although the philosophy of “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) calls for businesses to aim for a “triple bottom line,” of “financial, social and environmental benefits,” the capitalist system effectively forbids them to put social responsibility first. Sooner or later, when social benefits conflict with the interest of investors, the investors must win. For conventional businesses, social responsibility eventually results in financial irresponsibility.

Under untrammeled capitalism, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the strong rule over and marginalize the weak. These current mechanisms to curb and control capitalism in the interests of the poor have proven inadequate:

1. Government

Certainly governments can help. In many developed countries, democratic systems and sophisticated regulatory regimes offer protection against pollution, fraud, harmful products and other social ills. These countries also have well-developed infrastructures for the exchange of information and capital...

About the Author

Muhammad Yunus founded Grameen Bank, the pioneering microcredit financial institution that helped lift many poor villagers out of poverty. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

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    G. N. 1 decade ago
    I am well pleased to be the winner of the getAbstract Free Book Contest. I have effectively received my precious copy of the book titled 'Creating a World Without Poverty' by Muhammad Yunus. It is a great experience to be chosen amongst many and I value all those who took part in this competition. I am heartily grateful to the entire getAbstract team for this wonderful initiative, for their great intellectual potential and for their prompt action with respect to my reward. The book is really interesting and I wish as many people as possible read and apply knowledge from it.
    Happy new year 2011 to all reviewers/competitors at to the getAbstract team.
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    A. 1 decade ago
    Congratulations to Godswill Ntsomboh for winning the getAbstract Free Book Contest!

    Godswill was chosen for his thorough understanding of the book and his insights about moving social responsibility forward. He will receive a coy of “Creating a World Without Poverty” by Muhammad Yunus.

    Happy Holidays,
    Your getAbstract Team
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    S. S. 1 decade ago
    The book effectiveky conveys the simple message that social businesses should be managed using business principles but with a non-capitalistic purpose to drive social benefit. The busines model has been tried and tested in the Grameen Bank in a country that has seen the worst of poverty. The book provides the much needed inspiration to capitalist die-hards in working towards a social cause without taking on the additional burdens of a socialist state. In a highly objective way, it also points out the inefficacies of other social vehicles that may have a good intent but bad operating model.

    While it provokes the thought on the much-needed evolution of the social business in scale and scope, it also prompts several questions. What's needed to create the likes of several such entities in other countries that need them the most? Is there a tipping point at which the social business takes on the road of its capitalist cousin to increase social benefits? How do you continue to motivate the employees who have a cause to work for but are also constrained by the needs and norms of an all pervasive society around them? All in all, when we all want to alleviate poverty, why can we not play a part in it?

    I suppose it does take the likes of someone like Muhammad Yunus to have a singular goal to eliminate poverty and work whole-heartedly towards it. It takes a lot more to create several like him. Hopefully, understanding his work is a good first step.