Friday, May 16, 2008

Our May Author: Muhammad Yunus

I did some of my homework on the author of this month's selection, Banker to the Poor, Muhammad Yunus, some time ago in this post with video introduction to Grameen Bank. Mr. Yunus has his own website with plenty of links to press clips. There are so many Grameen related enterprises its a bit overwhelming. Grameen-info looks like a good place to sort it all out. If you are curious about Grameen America here is their site. They have a new branch in New York City which you can learn about in this WNYC interview.

There are also many YouTube interviews available. Perhaps this one with Charlie Rose (mostly Grameen 101) or this lecture (perhaps a little more wide-ranging) at Google would be good places to start. NPR takes a look at his most recent book, Creating a World without Poverty and Democracy Now has an interview focusing on the same topic,

AMY GOODMAN: Explain your idea of social business.

MUHAMMAD YUNUS: Yes, and I am saying that the conceptual framework of capitalism itself is at fault. That’s what created all the problems. So we have to address that also. And the concept of business, for example, only way the concept of business is defined in a capitalist theory is a business to make money. Profit maximization is the sole mission of business.

And I’m saying this is a misinterpretation of a human being. Human being is not a machine. Human being is not a robot. It’s not a money-making machine. A human being is much bigger than making money. Money-making is an important part of a human being, but certainly it’s not the totality of human being. Human being is much bigger than that. It’s also caring being. It’s a sharing being, wants to make a difference in the world. That part is not included in the business world, in the economic world.

As a bonus, here's a recent NYT article on cell phones and poverty and some comment from The New Yorker, "What Microloans Miss."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

For August: The Redbreast

In keeping with our tradition of reading a mystery in August, we have selected Jo Nesbo's The Redbreast,
Police Detective Harry Hole has made a terrible mistake. An embarrassment in the line of duty has pulled him off his usual beat. Reassigned to mundane surveillance tasks, he reluctantly agrees to monitor neo-Nazi activities in Oslo. But as Hole is drawn into an underground world of illegal gun trafficking, brutal beatings, and sexual extortions, he soon learns that he must act fast to prevent an international conspiracy from unfolding.

Trapped in the crosshairs of the man with all the answers, Harry Hole plunges headlong into a mystery with roots deep in the past. His investigation takes him back to Norway's darkest hour—when members of the young nation's government collaborated with leaders of Nazi Germany. Dredging up a painful history of denial, Hole turns his attention to the Norwegian troops who fought for Adolf Hitler on the Eastern front. Branded by their countrymen as traitors, the soldiers who survived the brutal Russian winter—the hunger, fear, cold, grenades, and snipers—returned home as scapegoats of a nation's atonement. Sixty years later, old grudges and betrayals appear to have been laid to rest, until Hole realizes that someone has begun to pick off the surviving soldiers one by one.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Persepolis Revisted

Welcome UW-RF Lion's Paw book group! Rights Readers read Persepolis a couple of years back and collected some nice supplementary links on these old blogposts, plus a couple of bonus posts on Iranian art. Unfortunately, many of the links have expired, but there are still a few nuggets buried here. For readers old and new, here are a couple of links I couldn't access before the NYT took down its subscription firewall: Iranian in Paris and an opinion page piece. Enjoy!
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