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Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 7, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, January 7, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Economics professor Yunus claims he originally became involved in the poverty issue not as a policy-maker, scholar, or researcher, but because poverty was all around me. With these words he stopped teaching elegant theories and began lending small amounts of money, $40 or less, without collateral, to the poorest women in the world. Thirty-three years later, the Grameen Bank has helped seven million people live better lives building businesses to serve the poor. The bank is solidly profitable, with a 98.6% repayment rate. It inspired the micro-credit movement, which has helped 100 million of the poorest people in the world escape poverty and earned Yunus (Banker to the Poor) a Nobel Peace prize. This volume efficiently recounts the story of microcredit, then discusses Social Business, organizations designed to help people while turning profits. French food giant Danone's partnership to market yogurt in Bangladesh is described in detail, along with 25 other businesses that operate under the Grameen banner. Infused with entrepreneurial spirit and the excitement of a worthy challenge, this book is the opposite of pessimistic recitals of intractable poverty's horrors. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"(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 off...This 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, January 27, 2008

"An amazing account of the way in which one man with a vision and the right values can turn the established order on its ear." The Guardian "Not only does it read as swiftly as a thriller, it turns the dreary science of development economics inside out." The Times"

"In this excellent work of popular economics, he tells the story of how he came to the idea and the impressive results it has generated." -- Winnipeg Free Press, February 24, 2008

"The influential economist and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize outlines his vision for a new business model that combines the power of of free markets with the quest for a more humane world. Includes stories of companies that are already doing social business." -- Bookseller (UK), October 8, 2007

"an inspiring volume, full of practical information for people who are motivated to try out his ideas." -- BusinessWeek, February 8, 2008

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (January 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586484931
  • ASIN: B001W6RRTI
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover
The author has proven that capitalism, if it accepts a social conscince out of self-preservation, can eventually develop a world where poverty is on the decline. Yunus is one of the most deserving of recipients of the Nobel Prize. He has been recognized by many, including former president Bill Clinton, as a financial reformer of very high order. The author is not a reving socialist but a reasonable person who believes the responsibility of every individual is to leave the world a better place for those to whom we will leave it. Instead of depending entirely on charity to combat poverty and ease the suffering of those who don't have the material benefits needed for survival, they should be given an oportunity to make their own way in the community.

This is a book that should be carefully read by every person who is interested in a more secure world, in easing human suffering, in providing opportunity to every individual to meet his or her potential, and certainly every politician world wide who has the courage to do what is right and not just politically expedient.

I have given this book five stars. In the past many others have gotten this rating, and this is the most deserving.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me say that I assign Yunnus' earlier book to my classes to read. He and the story of microcredit while controversial have clearly inspired much good work in the world. I expected to enjoy this book.

Unfortunately I found this book to be far too simplistic on the business side. The hypothesis boils down to "Businesses make money, and then some rich people profit. Why not give the poor ownership so that they profit?" This would be fine if every business succeeded, but they don't.

- Starting a business takes risk capital. Someone is on the line to lose money. Whoever is on the line to lose money puts their money there because they are gambling they will make money. You can't ask people to risk losing their money without any hope to make more.

- The average new business does not make money. Venture capitalists on average return negative interest to their investors. Investors put their money there because they are gambling that they will win big.

- Yunnus is not an average guy, he can negotiate deals others (even business leaders) can't.

- The Dannon deal does not appear to actually be good business for Dannon, it appears to be good CSR public relations.

All this doesn't take away from the fact that I think Social Business is a good idea. But I find the strict interpretation which completely removes a profit motive to be unrealistic. You need to get your startup capital from somewhere and that person has to want to give it to you.
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Format: Hardcover
Have you ever pondered why the raw capitalism prescribed by Adam Smith that became successful in raising the standard of living at the early stages of its development, lost it's steam after a certain phase? Why it leads to staggering inequality of income, destruction of the environment and social injustice?

In this book, Nobel Laureate Dr. Yunus suggests the reason is in the basic flaw in the assumption of Adam Smith, that man is a one dimensional being, his only motive in the world is to maximize the profit. If profit maximization is the only yardstick of the success of a business, why should the corporations care about other factors like social responsibility, sustainability or social justice?

Dr. Yunus, in this book, proposes another model of business, which he calls Social Business. In this business model, the goal is not profit maximization, but a specific social benefit, for example, providing nutrition among the population. The social business is not a charity, because, it returns the original investment back to the investor. But, it reinvests the profits back to the business to maximize its social goal. Dr.Yunus is not an ivory tower economist, but a very down-to-earth pragmatist, who has founded a score of Social Businesses in his own country Bangladesh and other underdeveloped parts of the world. As a result of his work, millions of people have come out of poverty.

In this book, he also explains the concept of micro-finance, a small amount of money, usually less than hundred dollars lent to the poor people, who can then use this money for running a small business. This generates income and help them rise above the poverty level. According to Dr. Yunus, the poor people always pay back the money.
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