Thursday, July 23, 2009

Yunus on the Financial Crisis

The year started so OK for blogging...alas, I need to re-group, start again and remind myself why I (try to) blog. I will still give it a go, if only for the effort to share topics and ideas that keep me thinking.

I have reorganized the RSS feeds I follow. One of the better ones is the news feed on the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (British spelling!) site. I don't usually think through social change from a human rights angle, but really appreciate the collection of resources on this. I found several interesting leads in the past few days.

One was an article highlighting recent comments on the financial crisis by Muhammad Yunus, who was speaking at the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture (and Nelson Mandela's 91st birthday). His comments realign my thoughts to some of the reasons I started this blog.
...Yunus noted that even if the problems springing from the global financial crisis were overcome, the world would still be left with some fundamental questions about the effectiveness of capitalism in tackling many other unresolved issues.

"There is only one concept of business in the whole world and that is the purpose of business is to make money."

He said the interpretation of the human being in this theory treated people as one dimensional human beings.

"Capitalism and the marketplace that has grown up around the theory make no room for the selfless dimensions of people ... what about starting a business on the base of selflessness?" he asked.

Yunus proposed a second type of business alongside the existing one, calling it "social business."


"Whenever I see a problem I start a company to solve that problem," Yunus said.

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