Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, has loaned billions of dollars to millions of poor people who have had no collateral as backup. Most of the borrowers have been women, and they are grateful to this program for helping them to cross over the poverty line. Best of all, Yunus has given hope to those who have been treated shabbily and regarded as too lazy or uneducated to work; given a chance they have proven to be just the opposite.
Yunus is one of only seven people on the planet to win the Congressional Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Nobel Peace Prize.
To Name This Day . . .
Talk about his book: A World of Three Zeroes: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment and Zero Net Carbon Emissions, Muhammad Yunus reveals the moral rot in capitalist societies where greed, corruption, and amorality have led to widespread unemployment, environmental chaos, and staggering inequality between the rich and the poor. A 2017 Oxfam report shows that just eight people (including Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Jeff Bezos) own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the world (3.6 billion people).
It is evident that such a wide gap between the rich and the poor signals the need for a new economic system that posits altruism and generosity as the central powers behind the human quest for meaning.
Talk about the implications of Yunus' suggestions with family, friends, or colleagues:
- What do you know about "the sharing economy" as an alternative to capitalism?
- What differences would you expect to see if the economy emphasized selflessness rather than self-interest, where solving problems would take precedence over profit?
Watch the documentary:
Bonsai People: The Vision of Muhammad Yunus is an enlightening documentary about the revolution wrought by Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank's micro-finance loans to the poor. The director Holly Mosher takes us to Bangladesh to see how women are selected for this program and how they use their loans. It is inspiring to hear the success stories of those who have proven themselves to be successful entrepreneurs.
Reflect upon these quotes by Muhammad Yunus:
"One day our grandchildren will go to museums to see what poverty was like."
"People were poor not because they were stupid or lazy. They worked all day long, doing complex physical tasks. They were poor because the financial institution in the country did not help them widen their economic base."
"Making money is no fun. Contributing to and changing the world is a lot more fun."
"The oneness of human beings is the basic ethical thread that holds us together."