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

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

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

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

Synopsis

In the last two decades, free markets have swept the globe, bringing with them enormous potential for positive change. But traditional capitalism cannot solve problems like inequality and poverty, because it is hampered by a narrow view of human nature in which people are one-dimensional beings concerned only with profit.In fact, human beings have many other drives and passions, including the spiritual, the social, and the altruistic. Welcome to the world of social business, 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 Povertytells the stories of some of the earliest examples of social businesses, including Yunus's own Grameen Bank. It reveals the next phase in a hopeful economic and social revolution that is already under way- and in the worldwide effort to eliminate poverty by unleashing the productive energy of every human being.

Excerpt

Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, free markets have swept the globe. Free-market economics has taken root in China, Southeast Asia, much of South America, Eastern Europe, and even the former Soviet Union. There are many things that free markets do extraordinarily well. When we look at countries with long histories under capitalist systems—in Western Europe and North America— we see evidence of great wealth. We also see remarkable technological innovation, scientific discovery, and educational and social progress. The emergence of modern capitalism three hundred years ago made possible material progress of a kind never before seen. Today, however—almost a generation after the Soviet Union fell—a sense of disillusionment is setting in.

To be sure, capitalism is thriving. Businesses continue to grow, global trade is booming, multinational corporations are spreading into markets in the developing world and the former Soviet bloc, and technological advancements continue to multiply. But not everyone is benefiting. Global income distribution tells the story: Ninety-four percent of world income goes to 40 percent of the people, while the other 60 percent must live on only 6 percent of world income. Half of the world lives on two dollars a day or less, while almost a billion people live on less than one dollar a day.

Poverty is not distributed evenly around the world; specific regions suffer its worst effects. In sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, hundreds of millions of poor people struggle for survival. Periodic disasters, such as the 2004 tsunami that devastated regions on . . .

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