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."
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