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Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Muhammad Yunus

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2. Juni 2011
Muhammad Yunus, the practical visionary who pioneered microcredit and, with his Grameen Bank, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, has developed a new dimension for capitalism which he calls "social business." The social business model has been adopted by corporations, entrepreneurs, and social activists across the globe. Its goal is to create self-supporting, viable commercial enterprises that generate economic growth as they produce goods and services to fulfill human needs. In Building Social Business, Yunus shows how social business can be put into practice and explains why it holds the potential to redeem the failed promise of free-market enterprise.

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Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs + How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition + The Social Entrepreneur's Playbook, Expanded Edition: Pressure Test, Plan, Launch And Scale Your Social Enterprise
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"CHOICE," September 2010 "In nine short, well-written chapters, Yunus provides genuine insight into global poverty and a unique perspective on the ways in which social businesses can coexist with traditional businesses to alleviate poverty and improve the lives of the world's citizens." "Malaysia Star," July 10, 2010"'Social business is about joy, ' says Yunus. Indeed, and the book itself is joy to read. In modest prose, Yunus tells of undertakings that instill hope. He also gives a lot of ideas, along with nuts-and-bolts practical advice for people who are ready to take the plunge into the world of social business. In the years to come, it seems certain that social business will become an integral part of our economic structure and will positively change the lives of many people." "Daily Times" (Pakistan), August 7, 2010"Yunus may be an astute (social) businessman, but he also has a savvy side. He is quick to point out that working for any social business does not mean lowering one's standards, for they offer employees competitive salaries and benefits; it simply means not profiting from the poor...Yunus has a Nobel Peace Prize 2006 (shared with Grameen Bank) to show for his efforts, and is already playing around with the building blocks of a new poverty-free world order." "The Spectator," June 2010"[A] reminder that capitalism can take kindlier forms: microfinance pioneer Yunus explains how he believes social enterprise can redeem what he regards as the failed promise of free markets." "Sacramento Book Review," June 22, 2010"Giving poor people the resources to help themselves, Dr. Yunus has offered these individuals something more valuable than a plate of food, namely security in its basic form.... Dr. Yunus has invoked a new basis for capitalism whereby social business has the potential to change the failed promise of free market enterprise." "The Independent," June 6, 2010 "There are times when Professor Yunus' aims for Glasgow sound like something ou -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Muhammad Yunus was born in Chittagong, Bangladesh, educated at Dhaka University, was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study economics at Vanderbilt University, and became head of the economics department at Chittagong University in 1972. He is the founder and managing director of Grameen Bank. Yunus and Grameen Bank are winners of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Karl Weber is a writer based in Irvington, New York. He coauthored Yunus's best-selling book, Creating a World Without Poverty.

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Great Book -- Solving Problems of Capitalism 23. Mai 2010
Von Michael Uschold - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a superb book on all counts. The author, Mohammed Yunus, is the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winning economist for his work in micro-credit to end poverty in Bangladesh. Over the years he realized that his micro-lending work resulted in the creation of a very different kind of business, one whose focus is social good rather than profit. He calls it "Social Business". It addresses some of the fundamental shortcomings of capitalism which we are all too familiar with when profits come before people and when the success of the world's economy is predicated on unsustainable growth (e.g. environmental damage, labor abuses). Capitalism also provides no answers for poverty - there is not enough profit there. Indeed, it is part of the cause. Capitalism misrepresents human nature as being mono-dimensional, seeking only to maximize profits.

Yunus takes great pains to explain the concept, addressing many questions he frequently gets. It is different from a regular business in that all profits are rolled back into the business to create more social benefit, rather than paid out as dividends to investors or owners. He compares Social Business to many other efforts and kinds of organizations devoted to creating social good. For example, unlike a charity, Social Business is financially self-sustaining, not having to devote major resources to getting donations. It is attractive for people who wish to support social causes because the money they invest in a social business comes back to them, and can be re-invested to get further social returns. He also discusses NGOs, Social Marketing, Social Entrepreneurism Corporate Social Responsibility and various new kinds of organizations that are popping up.

After expanding on the definition given in is last book, Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism, Yunus goes on to give a comprehensive update of what has been going on in the past three years -- which is quite a lot! For example:

* An update on the Grameen-Danon joint venture to produce affordable nutritious yogurt was given. Mistakes were made, lessons were learned, and the future now looks good.
* A new venture between Grameen and Veolia has gotten started to provide safe arsenic-free water in Bangladesh
* A few health care related Social Businesses are described along with the creation of a nursing school to train locals who then work in the villages or overseas.
* Other separate organizations that are cooperating with Grameen are popping up to disseminate knowledge and expertise in Social Business -- e.g. in Germany, Scotland and California.
* Universities are creating programs. There is a Social Business Chair at HEC, a presigious business school in Paris. This is a step closer to Yunus's dream of having a MBA program focused on Social Business entrepreneurship.
* The first annual Social Business Summit was held in November 2009

Yunus also gives a lot of ideas in many different sectors for how you might start your own social business, along with a lot of
nuts and bolts practical advice. One interesting pattern that is emerging in various social businesses is what he calls the "cross subsidisation" business model. The prices are kept very low in the villages where people cannot afford them, and the full market rate is being charged in the cities where people are better off. This is working for health care, yogurt and water.

Overall this is a great book, telling of what might evolve into a massive shift in how capitalist economies operate. Social Business fills an important gap left by capitalism and can also sit comfortable alongside it.

Yunus has spent his whole adult life thinking about these things, and it shows. He even talks about a separate stock market for social businesses.

Oh, the book is also well organized, clear and easy to read.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Just read his other books 1. Juli 2010
Von Michael Griswold - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This book on social business draws a lot from Yunis' other two booksBanker To The Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World PovertyCreating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism with the exception that it goes a little farther in-depth on the Dannon project and other corporations that are taking notice of the social business phenomenon and producing new ventures. The book also goes further into encouraging people to start their own social business If you've read his other two books, this one has a small amount of new information, but if you've read the other two, you'll most likely notice a lot of repeat information/familiar bits from his previous work. For the person new to social business read his other work before this one.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Read if interested in Social Business, for stuff on Grameen read his first book. 3. April 2011
Von Michelle Mount - Veröffentlicht auf
Another incredible insight from an exeptional man. Make sure to read if you're interested in Social Business. For info on Grameen read his first book. For info on microfinance and social business in general, read his second book. This one is very targeted.

We run a social business in conjunction with the Yunus Center, the book inspired us to change how our company was structured resulting in amazing gains. My major criticism is however, major. Yunus describes various Grameen businesses, though he does not make the distinction which ones are social businesses and which are for profit. The context leaves one to believe that they are all socially structured and the only way one would know to the contrary is to have an on the ground knowledge of Grameen operations. What could have been interesting would be to instead embrace the truth and launch a chapter on why some Grameen companies became for-profit. He would have done well to tackle this ambiguity head on.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Social Benefits in Modern Business 18. September 2010
Von Dr. Joseph S. Maresca - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
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 .
5 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen better than expected 29. Dezember 2010
Von Anonymous451 - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe

Building Social Business attempts to communicate the value and potential worth of a concept called "Social Business." The author, Muhammad Yunus, through a mixture of exposure, practical advice and hope-filled discourse, lays out the case for solving social issues with his business model. Instead of presenting the story of social business in a textbook-like fashion, Yunus takes the reader on a journey though the history, theory and lessons-learned of his collective social business experience. Redundant and drawn out at times, he takes the entire book to fully explain his business model while addressing problems, fears, and inspiration along the way. Yunus concludes his case in the final chapter by expressing his vision for the end of poverty with a new proposed era of worldwide social business.

Early in the book, the author helps to explain social business by pointing out what it is not. "Social enterprise," "social entrepreneurship," "charity organizations," "non-governmental organizations," "non-profit organizations" are definitely not the same thing. Yunus defines social business simply as a traditional business that sustains itself but whose purpose is to create social benefits rather than to generate a profit. A social business can be further categorized into two subtypes. A type I business is a non-profit making company devoted to solving social problems owned by investors who reinvest all profits back into the business. A type II social business is owned by poor people themselves. Type II social businesses are "profit-making" but since these profits go to poor people (the owners), the businesses are still helping to solve social problems. Since most of the book concentrates on type I social business, Yunus feels it important to explain the Seven Principles of type I:

1. The business objective is to overcome poverty or one or more problems (such as education, health, technology, access, and environment) that threaten people and society--not to maximize profit.
2. The company will attain financial and economic sustainability.
3. Investors get back only their investment amount. No dividend is given beyond the return of original investment
4. When the investment amount is paid back, profit stays with the company for expansion and improvement.
5. The company will be environmentally conscious.
6. The workforce gets market wage with better-than-standard working conditions.
7. Do it with joy!!!

The middle chapters of the book serve a few purposes. First, Yunus talks frankly about some of the challenges that must be overcome when attempting to create a social business. For example, in 2007, Grameen Danone, a social business that makes yogurt for poor people in Borja, Bangladesh, ran into serious difficulty. The price of milk doubled and the company was no longer sustainable by selling 80 grams of yogurt at 5 taka (7 cents). He therefore had to decide if the price of the product should be raised or somehow try to cut costs another way. His decision to raise his price to 8 taka was met with disastrous consequences; yogurt sales plummeted. After a lot more brainstorming, Yunus decided to sell the product in a smaller 60 gram container for only 6 taka. The business recovered but he sends the message to the reader that running a social business (just as a traditional business) requires a great degree of flexibility.

Next, advice on launching a social business is provided to the reader. Yunus tries to reach out to those that wish to get involved with social business but don't know how. When starting a social business, don't look for opportunities that will generate maximum profits. He suggests, instead, that potential creators of social business pick a social problem then seek a business solution to solve the problem. He additionally discusses ideas on what social problems a person might attempt to solve through social business. Some common examples are poverty, hunger, disease, healthcare and pollution to name a few. While solving some of the world's toughest problems, like poverty, may not be realistic, Yunus advises that people start small and start right away. Providing employment, for example, to five people is a very realistic goal for a new social business entrepreneur.

Weaved into the discussion is information about some social businesses he helped to create over the years. His first social business was Grameen Bank (which means village bank). Established in 1976, the bank provides microcredit to poor people in Bangladesh. Microcredit loans average about $200 per loan. Already discussed is Grameen Danone, a social business that produces affordable yogurt. The social problem addressed by that business is that of malnourishment in poor rural areas. The yogurt provides essential and much needed nutrition for folks at a price they can afford.
On the healthcare front, in 2009, Yunus' Grameen organization teamed up with the Cure2Children Foundation (of Italy). The goal is to set up a social business in Bangladesh to start bone marrow transplantation, the only way to cure thalassemia (an inherited blood disorder). The goal of this venture is to make self-sustaining business by charging well-off families the standard rate for bone marrow transplant operations. This, in turn, will help to pay for families that can contribute little or nothing. For every two full price patients served, a third poor patient can be treated for a token fee or none at all.
Lastly, Yunus discusses Grameen Veola Water. The company is half owned by Veolia Water AMI (Africa, Middle East, India) and half by Grameen Healthcare. This social business was established in 2008 to supply drinking water to the poorest people of Bangladesh. Unfortunately, for geological reasons, almost all of the groundwater the country has been found to be contaminated by arsenic, at levels that make it a health hazard. Today, more than 30 million Bangladeshis are exposed to the sometimes fatal consequences of chronic arsenic poisoning.

Starting small and with the goal of producing 10 liters of clean water for 1 taka (1 cent), Grameen Veola has begun supplying safe water to poor rural people. Many of the villagers are unaccustomed to paying for water and this has proved to be a snag in the business plan. Yunus, however, optimistically states that Grameen Veola is a work in progress. As long as the central goal of providing an affordable, sustainable and healthy supply of drinking water to the poor people is kept in focus, there's no problem with testing many ways of making the project economically viable.
Yunus concludes his work with an optimistic view of his social business model and how it has attracted so much positive attention in the past few years from every continent. In contrast, however, he also takes a critical stance on capitalism by pointing out where it has failed humanity since the recent financial crisis. According to Yunus, the demands for ever-increasing profits and the creative ways to make that possible (repackaged mortgages and other such loans) caused the collapse of the US housing market. That collapse has had a world-wide affect where millions around the world who did nothing wrong are now suffering.

He's quick to point though that great crisis offers great opportunity. Yunus believes that social business has the potential to reverse current affairs by bringing the poor into the mainstream economic system. He thinks it can transform society by potentially ending poverty in the foreseeable future. When pondering what the world with be like in the year 2030, Yunus thinks that a science-fiction writer has a better chance at predicting the course of humanity than the best scientists and economic analysts of our time. Analysts are trained to make forecasts on the basis of past and present but Yunus concludes with the assertion that "events in the real world are driven by dreams of the people."


I chose this book to read because the title led me to believe that the author is a proponent of socialism and big-government solutions to world problems. I, unashamedly, am a pro-capitalist and an anti-socialist who strongly values the ideas of limited government, free markets and individual liberty. Prior to reading, I thought this would honestly be a good opportunity to reinforce my own views while pointing out the fallacy of a world-view I don't subscribe to. My preconceived ideas about this book actually proved to be somewhat incorrect. Additionally, I am a bit embarrassed to admit I knew next to nothing about the author even though he is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

I do not agree with everything Muhammad Yunus presents in his work. I do not share, for example, his belief that traditional capitalism is responsible for poverty and that it creates a "fairytale of prosperity for all." Despite such disagreements, I have come away with newfound knowledge and some genuine respect for the social business concept. While I don't know for certain if Yunus values the tenets of socialism, I was pleased to read about his solutions for helping the less fortunate. He advocates neither big-government solutions nor wealth redistribution initiatives. Yunus, in a nutshell, seeks to reduce poverty by constructing self-sustaining businesses with the mission of creating social benefits, instead of maximizing profits.

The belief in helping others is not monopolized by one side of the political spectrum or the other. I believe that most people, regardless of their political and economic views, desire to be helpful to others in life. Society should, however, be ever mindful of the tenet which says "God" helps those that help themselves. This, in part, is why I hold a favorable view of Yunus `work. Rather than creating a society of government dependence and learned helplessness, Yunus proposes societal transformation via the desire to help the less fortunate coupled with hard work, taking risks and the use of capitalism.

Proposal for problem identified in book

One of the problems identified in the book is that there are currently no legal and regulatory systems to govern social businesses. According to Yunus, "profit-maximizing companies and traditional non-profit organizations are recognized institutions covered by specific rules regarding organizational structure, governance and decision making principles, tax treatment, information disclosure, transparency and so on." Social business is not a recognized category.

Currently, if an individual created a social business in the United States (or elsewhere) there exists the potential for that business owner to be sued. In our world there is an implicit or explicit rule that for-profit companies have a legal obligation to maximize profits for their owners and shareholders. A social business, diverting all resources and profits to socially beneficial purposes, plots a course which is contrary to currently accepted business practices. The potential for legal and economic problems is surely predictable.

If social business is to succeed and become a "standard" model for creating social good, then certain steps should be undertaken to ensure its protection. First, as discussed previously, any profit generated by a social business profit goes to help combat a particular social problem or is put back into the company itself. It would be necessary, therefore, for owners, board members and shareholders to partake in some sort of legal agreement verifying this arrangement. Everybody must be on the same page in other words.

Another necessary step would be to pass laws (nationally and internationally) that govern social business. Such laws would define what a social business is and does as well as spell out what obligations it has to its shareholders (and vice versa). Another important area needing legislation would be procedures under which a profit-maximizing company can switch to a social business company (and vice versa).

Finally, rules concerning the tax obligations of a social business must be defined. Should a social business more closely resemble a traditional non-profit organization when it comes to paying taxes (tax exempt)? According to Yunus, creating a favorable environment for social business to thrive is desirable but mandating a tax-exempt status goes too far. If a social business owner takes the dollar which was supposed to be handed over to the government as tax then, he argues, the business benefits financially and "gives in" to selfish motivations. Such motivations should be irrelevant with a social business. Making social businesses taxable entities keeps them true to the goals of helping people and solving problems.
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