Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity's Most Pressing Needs

Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity's Most Pressing Needs

Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity's Most Pressing Needs

Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity's Most Pressing Needs

Synopsis

Muhammad Yunus, the practical visionary who pioneered microcredit and, with his Grameen Bank, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, has developed a visionary new dimension for capitalism which he calls "social business." By harnessing the energy of profit-making to the objective of fulfilling human needs, social business creates self-supporting, viable commercial enterprises that generate economic growth even as they produce goods and services that make the world a better place.

In this book, Yunus shows how social business has gone from being a theory to an inspiring practice, adopted by leading corporations, entrepreneurs, and social activists across Asia, South America, Europe and the US. He demonstrates how social business transforms lives; offers practical guidance for those who want to create social businesses of their own; explains how public and corporate policies must adapt to make room for the social business model; and shows why social business holds the potential to redeem the failed promise of free-market enterprise.

Excerpt

Beginning with a Tiny Step

I first got involved in the poverty problem as an academician, and then personally, almost by accident. I got involved because poverty was all around me in Bangladesh. In particular, the famine of 1974 pushed me out of the university campus and forced me to become a social activist in addition to being a teacher.

This is a common experience, of course. In disaster situations, most of us without hesitation take up the social roles demanded by human compassion. But in my case what began in a time of crisis became a lifelong calling. I gave up my academic position and founded a bank— a bank for the poor.

It was the first step in a journey that continues to this day. The latest stage in that journey, as I’ll explain in this book, is creating and realizing an idea for a new form of capitalism and a new kind of enterprise based on the selflessness of people, which I call social business. It’s a kind of business dedicated to solving social, economic, and environmental problems that have long plagued humankind—hunger, homelessness, disease, pollution, ignorance.

Back in the early seventies, the newly independent country of Bangladesh was in a terrible state. The aftermath of our War of Liberation— . . .

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