We could have talked more (or even the whole show) about the ideas of Mohammad Yunus. His book, Creating A World Without Poverty, argues we should look beyond standard for-profit business and consider expanding the emphasis on “social business.” This – among other things – preserves investors’ capital but doesn’t aim to make it grow, while serving pressing social needs with a business-like delivery model.
Versions of these ideas came up repeatedly in a course I just finished running at MIT, with Anjali Sastry and other colleagues, in which more than 50 students put their business skills to work helping health care projects in Africa become more effective. Muhammad is definitely right that more and more business people want to get involved in this kind of social space, and many social entrepreneurs welcome input/advice/any kind of serious contribution.
Ordinarily, we might dismiss a zero real rate of return as uninteresting to anyone who has other uses for their money – but Muhammad is quite eloquent on how such an investment is complementary to seeing more in your life and in finding ways to really help others. Continue reading