Creating a World Without Poverty

Creating a World Without Poverty

Social Business and the Future of Capitalism

Public Affairs, 2008 more...

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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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