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Creating a World Without Poverty: How Social Business Can Transform Our Lives: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism Hardcover – 3 Jan 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 261 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; First Edition edition (3 Jan. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586484931
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586484934
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 16.4 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 564,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"(I)n Creating A World Without Poverty, Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus argues convincingly that social business is an achievable way of exploiting capitalism to help the poor. Yunus moves the debate beyond the tired argument that the rich should simply donate to those less privileged, and demonstrates that the free market can in fact be used to the advantage of the less well offThis book is a must-read for policymakers or philanthropists, and its conversational style and straightforward logic also make it appealing to the layperson." --Scotland on Sunday

About the Author

Muhammad Yunus, a native of Bangladesh, was educated at Dhaka University and studied economics at Vanderbilt University, USA. In 1972 he became head of the economics department at Chittagong University. He is the founder and managing director of Grameen Bank, a pioneer of microcredit, an economic movement that has helped lift millions of families around the world out of poverty. Yunus and Grameen Bank are winners of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Jan. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Creating a World Without Poverty should be read by everyone who is concerned about helping the poor and those whose needs are ignored.

If I could give this book one hundred stars, I would; that would still be too few. Books have the potential to advance and create discussions about ideas, concepts, and practices that can reform everything we do in needed directions. Creating a World Without Poverty is one of the few books I've ever read that fulfills that potential.

Professor Yunus (co-winner with the Grameen Bank of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2006) has written an extremely thoughtful and thought-provoking work that successfully argues for a new type of organization to serve the unserved among the poor, the social business. A social business seeks to optimize social benefits rather than profits. In defining its purpose, a social business begins by defining a social need that wouldn't otherwise be served. Profits are kept at the minimum level needed to keep the enterprise viable. Ideally, no dividends are paid to owners. The original investors get a return of their capital, and then the organization is purchased by the poor . . . using microcredit from organizations like the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. The Grameen Bank is a model for such an enterprise, and in the book Professor Yunus describes several other ventures that the Grameen Bank has initiated with partners steeped in expertise related to the needs of the poor.

Professor Yunus describes his experiences in founding the Grameen Bank and the lessons he learned from this work:

1. The poor are very capable of solving problems -- survival needs have honed their skills.

2. Poor people often need very few resources to pull themselves out of poverty.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joanne on 21 July 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Muhammad Yunus is obviously a brilliant man and the work he has been involved with in Bangladesh is impressive. I was familiar with his work with Grameen Bank before I read this book but had not read any of his other books.

This book is written in an easy to read style and is mostly Yunus' personal manifesto for ending poverty in the world. I suspect if you have read his other book then there will be quite a lot of repetition in this one.

The book seems to be mostly based around four themes.

1. The Grameen Bannk and related companies and their success (mainly) as a tool to empower poor women and allow them and their families to escape poverty in Bangladesh.

2. Some ideas for his models of 'social businesses' no-loss, no-dividend which operate with own stock market, investors guaranteed start up money back but no profit, ideally long term ownership by the poor communities served. He emphasises the limitations of profit maximising companies to meet all the needs of humans in terms of our desire to do good.

3. One example of a social business set up between Grameen and Danone.

4. Various other factors on Yunus' wish list of solving world problems and the requirements for international regulation and consensus as well as local 'social forum' solutions.

There are some interesting ideas and Yunus probably has the energy and vision to see some of them realised. I did not find them as ground breaking and life changing as I kind of expected from other reviews I'd read.

The one element that I found very useful was the 'Sixteen Decisions' that Grameen borrowers have to commit to. These 16 factors are used to measure whether a family is poor or not or has moved out of poverty.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 13 May 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an absolutely fantastic book and I can only give it the highest praise. If you are like me fed up to the book teeth with capitalism and what it stands for - read this book. If you want to start your own business and care for the community/village/town/city that you live in - read this book.

You will be surprised what you will learn and it will give you a way of owning a business and still being able to compete against Profit Making Businesses. If only more people would go down the road of the ideas in this book we would be living in a better place right now.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By miosotis on 20 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an inspiring book about overcoming poverty through social business.
If you are interested in learning the work of Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh, the Grameen Group, how Danone and Grameen created a social business that produces a nutritious yoghurt for the poor and how in a capitalist world is possible to fight poverty.

"Poor people are like bonsai trees. You pick the seed of the tallest tree in the forest and take the best seed out of it, and plant it in a flower pot. You get a tiny little tree, we call it a bonsai. Nothing wrong with the seed, you've got the best seed possible. Nothing wrong with the tree, because you actually picked the tallest tree in the forest. But actually it grows this far... why? Because we put them in the flower pot. The base. Society is the base. And society is so stingy it doesn't give the poor people the space to grow.

So I say, change the base! If you change the base, anybody will be as tall as anybody else! My belief is poverty is not caused by poor people. Poverty is caused by the system. Poverty is caused by the policies that we pursue."

Muhammad Yunus
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