For the past weeks, I’ve been reading an amazing book called ¨the world of three zeroes¨ by Muhammad Yunus. He is a peace Nobel price economist that has a beautiful view on economics, capitalism and entrepreneurship.
Here are some quotes from the book.
Hope they inspire as much as they have inspired me.
PS: There´s a video at the end of the quotes if you are REALLY not into reading hahaha
For too long, we´ve tolerated the persistence of poverty, unemployment, and enviromental destruction, as if these are natural calamities completely out of human control, or, at best, unavoidable costs of economic growth. They are not. These are failures of our economic system - and since the economic system was created by human beings, these failures can be corrected if human beings choose to replace that economic system with a new system that more accurately reflects human nature, human needs, and human desires.
It’s important to start with the realization that poverty is not created by poor people. It is created by an economic system in which all the resources tend to keep surging up toward the top, creating an ever-expanding mushroom head of wealth belonging to only one percent of the people... the giant mushroom head represents the wealth ownership of the few, while the very long, thin stem ha going from it represents the wealth owned by the renaming 99 percent of the population. Over time, this stem get thinner and longer, while the mushroom head gets bigger.
The word inequality is totally inadequate to describe this unsustainable and unacceptable situation. If you wanted to describe the difference between ants and elephants, you would certainly not use the word inequality!
Within the current system, poor people are like bonsai trees. These trees start from the same seeds as the fully sized pines or birch trees found in nature. But because they are kept in tiny planters and have access to small amounts of water and other nutrients, bonsai trees never grow to their destined height. Instead, they grow to be tiny réplicas of the full sized trees.
It’s the same with poor people. They are bonsai people. They remain stunted, like the bonsai trees. There is nothing wrong with the seeds from which poor people grow. But the system does not allow them the same opportunities that are given to the nonpoor. As a result, they cannot use their creativity and entrepreneurship to grow as others do.
The DNA of entrepreneurship is common to all human beings. We began life on this planet as independent hunter and gatherers, seeking our own livelihood from the resources provided so abundantly in the world around us. The ability to find a way to support oneself remains latent, even today, in every individual.
Supporting entrepreneurship is the basic way of coming one of the fatal flaws in the mainstream economic model- the forced dependence on jobs, government or corporate, and the assumption that, as job creators, governments and corporations are the only drivers of economic growth.
The problem of unemployment is not created by the unemployed people themselves. It is created by our grossly flawed conceptual framework, which has drilled into our heads that people are born to work for a few fortunate capitalists.
Our education system reflects this same economic theory. It is built on the assumption that students should work hard and get good grades so they can get good jobs from the corporations that are assumed to be the drivers of all economic activity and growth.
...expose the idea that Any group of people is incapable of useful work as a myth we need to reject. It is simply one of the old ideas that operates as a barrier to creating a new economic system in which every human being can find a place.
Redirect the minds of young people from the traditional path of hunting jobs to one of creating jobs for themselves and others through entrepreneurship.
Young people, old people, women people with disabilities - all will flood the market with creative talent and entrepreneurial surprises. Employment bureaus will not longer be charged with finding jobs for people, instead, they’ll face the challenges of trying to pursue people to be willing to work for others.
All we need to do is change the economic system - which starts with challenging the orthodoxy that currently controls it.
We raise our children to believe their lives begin with jobs. No job, no life - this message is sent loud and clear from every direction: home, school, media, political debates, everywhere. When you become an adult, you offer yourself to the scrutiny of the job market. A job is your destiny. If you miss it, you show up in the bread line. Nobody tells young people they are nature-built to become entrepreneurs rather than waiting in the line to get hired.
Another important lesson young people learn as children is that the fundamental purpose of work is to generate personal income and wealth. We teach them that all other motivations, including unselfish desires such as the drive to help others and to make the world a better place, are of secondary importance and are only to be purseud in one´s "free time", or to "give back" as a kind of repayment. Based on those assumptions, young people are led into narrow pathways that restrict their areas of activism and achievement.
If we wish to create a new civilazation that recognizes, honours, and empowers the broader range of human desires and abilities, we need to change the educational system and the assumptions behind that sytem.
We need to remember that our economy depends on nature, not the other way around, and companies will destroy the economy if they destroy nature.
... based on a mistaken belief that there is an inherent conflict between economic growth and enviromental protection. In fact, it is quite possible to grow the economy, lifting communities and entire societies out of poverty, while also protecting the environment.
History shows that when destructive environmental policies are pursued, the poor suffer the most. Within the developed world, politicians, policy makers and business leaders tend to make choices that put polluting, dangerous toxic and destructive industries and facilities in communities where poor people live.
If a business helps reduce unemployment, makes a economic growth for a country or region, but at the same time it helps destroy the environment and render our planet less able to sustain life, then no long-term benefit for humankind has really been created. It does not serve the environment.
It would be a mistake, however, to think that social business alone can solve the environmental crisis we face. We need to address issues from all sides, including concerns about lifestyle, government policies about energy, mining, and businesses; and other factors.
Government regulations as well as social pressure from customers and citizens groups will play an important part in enforcing this norm.
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