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Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity's Most Pressing Needs

1 rating: 5.0
The Triumph of the Non-Profit Sector in Assisting the Poor by Muhammad Yunus

   Muhammad Yunus, the practical visionary who pioneered microcredit and, with his Grameen Bank, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, has developed a visionary new dimension for capitalism which he calls “social business.” By harnessing … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Nonfiction, Social Entrepreneurship, Social Responsibility, Social Businesses
Author: Muhammad Yunus
Publisher: PublicAffairs
1 review about Building Social Business: The New Kind of...

The Triumph of the Non-Profit Sector in Assisting the Poor

  • Sep 16, 2010
Building Social Business by Dr. Muhammad Yunus   2010

Reviewed by: Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

This book is an excellent rendition on how to invest in
poor countries while getting a modest return and doing
much good at the same time. The classic profit maximization
model does not produce optimum results because many
working poor simply cannot afford the higher prices.
To some extent, this phenomenom is happening in the
USA. Hence, there are Grameen branches in Brooklyn
and Queens, New York.

Yunus guarantees loans to the poor ; thereby acting as
an intermediary. This is not much different from the
USA government guaranteeing certain loans to
borrowers. The result is that bankers are much more
willing to lend money due to the guaranteed payment.
Borrowers repay in small weekly amounts. Women
have great drive to overcome poverty. The Grameen
Bank lends $100 million dollars a month in
collateral free loans averaging $200 apiece .    The repayment
rate is an astounding 98%.

Grameen lends money to beggars to sell toys,
households and foodstuffs door-to-door.
There are 100,000 beggars in the program.
Since implementation of the program, over
18,000 beggars have quit begging.

Grameen offers children of borrowers money to go
to school. And so, 50,000 students are pursuing
medicine and engineering coursework.  This program
is microcredit or microfinance at its best. In some
cases, a mother may be illiterate and her children
go on to become physicians and engineers
due to the Grameen Bank.

Grameen Violia Water sells pure water at a price
that the poor can afford. In the future, the
"Artificial Sun" coupled with desalination
may be able to accomplish a similar feat.

The objective of the Grameen program is to
overcome poverty, have a sustainable economy
and have a modest return on the investment.
When loans are paid back, profits are plowed
back into the company not unlike the function
of retained earnings in a for-profit company.

Fabio Rosa has brought solar energy to nearly
750,000 Brazilian homes with no electricity
previously.  There is a similar opportunity to do
so for the Palestinians, if the various strategic
constituencies can agree on a workable

Currently, Grameen Telecom, Grameen Energy
and Grameen Well Being serve the poor.
Grameen and Pfizer have a joint cooperative
venture to bring affordable health care to
village clinics through Grameen Healthcare.

A similar cooperative arrangement could be
brought to the Medicaid program here in the
United States in places like Appalachia and
other rural communities where professionals
are hardly ever seen practicing their craft.

The first major attempt to outline Appalachia as a
distinctive cultural region came in the 1890s through
the tireless efforts of the Berea College President .
William Goodell Frost coined the phrase
"Appalachian America" which encompassed 194
counties in 8 states.

The Grameen organizations seek to promote social
business under the umbrella of charitable
organizations and non-profit groups. Universities
and think tanks are another great resource for
Grameen and its people. A successful program
has been underway to cross-fertilize the poor
and the wealthy to deliver affordable bone marrow
transplants for everyone. The assignment algorithms
in linear programming and operations research may
be utilized to bring together donors and patients

Overall, the book is well written by a popular
Nobelist- Dr. Muhammad Yunus. The ideas contained
in this book could be applicable to both
poor and rich countries since virtually every
country on this earth has poor people in
every walk of  life .

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