A World of Three Ze­roes

MUHAM­MAD YUNUS | RE­VIEW BY: THE ED­I­TOR

AQ: Australian Quarterly - - PRE- EMPTING APOCALYPSE? POSTCAPITALISM AS AN EVER -

For decades Prof Yunus has been qui­etly chal­leng­ing ac­cepted eco­nomic prin­ci­ples and of­fer­ing hope to mil­lions of peo­ple shunned by main­stream eco­nomic par­a­digms. A World of Three Ze­roes brings to­gether these ex­pe­ri­ences with nu­mer­ous real-world ex­am­ples that he has seen grow out of the ini­tia­tives of his Grameen or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The book clearly and ac­ces­si­bly draws to­gether the threads of many mod­ern crises to cre­ate a premise that change is as sim­ple as a shift in how we think about the busi­nesses that we build. So­cial Busi­ness – for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions with pos­i­tive so­cial out­comes baked into their busi­ness model – are the key to tack­ling global chal­lenges. From the lo­cal, global change be­comes pos­si­ble.

This is a book about revo­lu­tion, but very much a Yunus-style revo­lu­tion, one of in­di­vid­ual em­pow­er­ment and com­mu­nity spirit, of sim­ple changes with huge im­pli­ca­tions.

Un­der­pin­ning the book is a con­stant sense of op­ti­mism, a tone at odds with mod­ern con­ver­sa­tions on eco­nomic re­form. And it is easy to mis­take this op­ti­mism for naïve sim­plic­ity – ex­cept that the book con­stantly asks the silent ques­tion: ‘Why not?’ – Why do we teach our kids that their role in life is as a job slave, not a job cre­ator? – Why don’t gov­ern­ments cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for so­cial en­ter­prises rather than for­profit com­pa­nies? And why is it so hard to imag­ine busi­ness with so­cial, rather than fi­nan­cial, div­i­dends?

His vi­sion is utopic but his op­ti­mism is in­fec­tious. Zero Poverty, Zero Un­em­ploy­ment, Zero Car­bon Emis­sions – For No­bel Peace Prize win­ner, Muham­mad Yunus, the prob­lems fac­ing the world are in­ter­twined. To his mind, the cur­rent mode of cap­i­tal­ism is bro­ken, with the profit mo­tive shut­ting down all dis­cus­sion of al­ter­na­tive meth­ods of do­ing busi­ness.

A WORLD OF THREE ZE­ROES IS AVAIL­ABLE THROUGH HTTPS://SCRIBEPUBLICATIONS.COM.AU

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