Saturday, March 28, 2015

Nobel Prize winner Yunus: Traditional capitalism overcomes poverty – Virtual Poland

In order to effectively combat poverty, change the practices of the free market: instead of individual profit maximization bet on solving social problems through innovative business projects – says Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Professor Yunus, an economist, founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and the creator of microcredit, insists that it is a project that can be self-financing.

In his view, the West could effectively relieve writ large welfare state systems that rozleniwiają citizens and de facto perpetuate their dependence on public money to draw from. At the same time, globalization and the development of new technologies to free your individual potential of each individual, if you give her the chance.

Yunus promotes the idea of ​​social companies – companies that operate in the market and earn at each other, but their owners do not receive dividends, and promote universal education, health care, care for the elderly, etc.

– A social enterprise is a business like any other, classic laws governing the business, but no other purposes. It is set to multiply individual owners profit, but for this to resolve their perceived social problem, without having to constantly reach for other people’s money – state, philanthropists or large companies – PAP Yunus said during a visit to Brussels.

– Poverty (…) is a product of the system. To eliminate them, you need to create a different culture of thinking and acting, also on the market, which must also be open for the poor – he added.

In Europe arouses great interest in the model promoted by Yunus’ social business “is not directed at a profit, but to solve problems. Such projects profitable, but these are invested in further projects selected for solving problems such as malaria and homelessness.

– A social enterprise is a concept that is still poorly understood. People sensitive to social issues often do not want and do not know how to run a business, and entrepreneurs identify so called charitable projects in the shares or corporate social responsibility involving the allocation of the profits to social actions. Problem is the mindset, where we’re – PAP said Dr. Margaret Bonikowska, president of the Center for International Relations and a partner in the resort ThinkThank dialogue and analysis, co-organizer of the Nobel Prize winner visits in Brussels.

Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank were awarded in 2006. Nobel Peace Prize for its innovative approach and effectiveness in eliminating poverty in the world, including through micro-credits to the poorest people of Bangladesh, mostly women. The solutions proposed by Yunus are also used in developed countries, such as in Europe, where social enterprises are now about 10 percent. all companies in the SME sector. In 2011,. Yunus was removed from the post of Director of Grameen Bank’s central bank decision taken on behalf of the government and the justification for exceeding the age of retirement, amounting in Bangladesh 60 years. Yunus expressed his belief that in fact it was punished in this way for political ambitions, and that the government wanted to take control of the bank.

The owners of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, 94 percent. are his lender, 6 percent. owned by the state.

The interest in the Grameen Bank and other initiatives Yunus has increased after the financial crisis that put millions of people into poverty, while involving huge public money to rescue the banks, which stood on the brink of bankruptcy with the pursuit of short-term profit.

– After the financial crisis a little differently understand the rules and we are aware that they can not serve themselves, but people – told PAP MEP Michal Boni (PO), co-organizer of the conference with the participation of Nobel Prize winner in Brussels.

The Grameen Bank operates in dozens of countries, especially developing countries, but also, eg. In the United States, where it has 19 branches, though not as a bank, but the non-governmental organization. Loans repaid indicator reaches level of 98 percent, but is based on trust, and not on guarantees and safeguards as traditional banks. Unlike commercial banks, Grameen Bank the amount of interest on the loan will never exceed the amount of the loan itself, regardless of the period of repayment.

An example of innovative ways to fight poverty is to fight the causes night blindness in children vitamin deficiency. Bank founded by Yunus began distributing vegetable seeds on the occasion of loans to the poorest. In this way, in time became the largest distributor of seeds in Bangladesh.

Bank promotes the implementation of social, educational and health services, such as the provision of education for children, building hygienic toilets, provision of clean drinking water, etc.

Microloans enable people to purchase tools, equipment and vehicles. The average loan amount is around $ 350.

There is an interesting concept of flexibility in the organization of work of Grameen Bank. In the event of natural disasters, and these often occur in Bangladesh, the bank’s branches turn into bars crisis management and humanitarian assistance.

Yunus is an opponent of charitable organizations in the fight against poverty. – If it receives for free, a man does not feel responsible for it or that does not respect. Of course there are situations in which the giving of money is necessary, but the point is, that did not last too long – Nobel Prize winner said.

When asked about the prescription to the problems of Europe, such as youth unemployment, says that would start from experiments – eg. Projects involving young people in the two countries. But these projects would not rely on creating jobs for young people, but the fact that they themselves created them for themselves.

Yunus drew attention to the great opportunities that, thanks to technology, now have young people. He added that he did not have as much as 10 percent. such opportunities. – But these new technologies can be well or poorly spent. Arise and are based on the business model of profit, earn money as much as possible, and not with a view of the poor – he said.

– Digital technologies are very important, because they can make a difference in the lives of people living in poverty. This digital Aladdin’s lamp. You may use it to solve a lot of problems, because new technologies facilitate education, communication, etc., – Stressed Yunus.

– We have a great wave of the digital revolution, which is building a new economic opportunities, new opportunities for social and human, allows greater openness and exchange experiences and share everything – agreed with Nobel Laureates Michal Boni.

A chance for the fight against poverty can also be globalization, unless it is only the pursuit of profit.

– Globalization can bring people and technology can help in this task. But it’s a different kind of globalization, not only focused on profit and sucking natural resources, but to share ideas, solutions, exchanging them for a good purpose – summed Yunus.

Prof. Yunus spent this week in Brussels, where he met with European Parliament President Martin Schulz, MEPs and representatives of the European institutions and the Permanent Representation of Poland to the EU. Wednesday was the main protagonist of the conference in the Economic and Social Committee’s “Future of Europe: Social Economy first?” with the participation of the EU institutions and the European business organization BusinessEurope and Polish Leviathan.

From Brussels Renata Bancarzewska


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