Nobel Prize Winner Yunus visits Atlanta in quest to build social businesses
By Maria Saporta
Usually when Nobel Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus visits a city, he comes in for half a day to give a talk and sign some books before going out to his next destination.
But when Yunus came to Atlanta last week, he came for the better part of four days.
“This is very special,” Yunus said of his stay in Atlanta after speaking to a standing-only crowd at Georgia Tech’s College of Management. “When I go to a city, I hardly spend half a day, so this one is very special.”
While here, Yunus addressed students and interested Atlantans at Agnes Scott on Wednesday, Georgia Tech on Thursday and the Atlanta University Center at an event Friday celebrating the first phase of the renovation of the Robert W. Woodruff Library.
“Hopefully, these ideas, my books, will lead to discussions around Atlanta and the United States,” Yunus said.
Atlanta has been a special draw for Yunus. He’s having discussions with Emory University on health care issues. He visited with CNN. He was in Atlanta as part of a tour promoting his latest book: “Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs.”
He believes Atlanta can become a center for social businesses within universities and in local communities. Yunus has many friends and colleagues in Atlanta. There is fellow Nobel Peace Prize recipient Jimmy Carter.
Yunus also is close to Ted Turner and members of his family, serving on the board of the United Nations Foundation. Also on the foundation is former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young.
Atlanta also is home to several important international institutions, such as the Carter Center, the CDC and CARE. Yunus also hopes to return to Atlanta in the near future when he would like to meet with some of the city’s top business leaders.
After all, Yunus is on a mission to rid the world of poverty.
It began when Yunus was a professor at Chittagong University in Bangladesh in the mid 1970s. The poverty in the nearby village of Jobra was extreme, and he realized that people in the village had to pay exorbitant interest rates just to borrow a miniscule amount of money.
That’s when Yunus, working with his students, approached a local bank and offered to be a guarantor for loans to the poor.
“You should be lending money to people who don’t have money,” Yunus, who during his talk at Georgia Tech, recalled the story and what he told the banker. “It doesn’t make sense to lend money to people who have money. The more money you have, the more money you get. If you have nothing, if you have little, you don’t get anything.”
Every micro-loan provided by the bank was repaid in full, but still the bank was reluctant to lend money to poor people. Despite subsequent successes in other villages, the bank became more and more reluctant.
“After eight months of blaming the banking system, I kept shopping around,” Yunus said. “Why don’t we create a bank ourselves. We’ll lend money only to poor people.”
The bank — Grameen Bank, which means the “village bank” in Bengali — now has operations throughout the world. The borrowers of the bank actually become the owners of the bank. And the money gets reinvested in communities.
“We lend out over $100 million each month,” Yunus said, adding that the bank also encourages the families to send their children to school.
In a visit back to one of the villages, he encountered a woman who had earned her PhD and had become a doctor. She was standing next to her mother, who was illiterate.
“Her mother could have been a doctor too,” Yunus said. “Her other could have been a doctor too. There was nothing wrong with her mother. Not only did she not become a doctor, she never ever went to school. Is it her fault? No. Poverty is not created by the person. Poverty is created by the system, by the way we design our society, by the way we design our political structure.”
Yunus has applied his philosophy to creating a myriad of social businesses to help create a healthier and wealthier society to those who are the most vulnerable to illnesses and poverty — clean water, shoes, mosquito nets, etc.
Since winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, Yunus, 70, has been spreading the message that businesses can be agents of social change and social responsibility.
As he travels the world, Yunus hopes to find people and institutions that can join the movement to improve the world. And Atlanta is one more stop along the way.
SACRED MISSION SOCIAL PLAN: HEALTH SELF FUNDED EMPLOYEES:
Subject: Giving Forecast Submission re Sacred Mission
From: George Verdon, Economist, Author (copyrights) Sacred Mission
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Since this is a Social Business Plan designed as non profit, it is offered, without any self-agenda, but as a very helpful, Health Maintenance program to all employees, all employers, ETC. and it is extended to their respective families, also, with similar savings potential instead of expensive Costs.
Sacred Mission and its suggested natural benefits by grounding give a natural electric health exchange, at work and at home.
It is all natural “Contact with Earth” with immediately recognizable effects. This is a very unique situation: “A Social Company Plan” never previously applied within any Established Organizations. If no “agenda prevailing”, it can easily be recognized as extraordinarily valuable! Natural Health maintenance benefits and opportunities unimaginable become available. Compare and see how different to the present situation facing all: Companies, Employees, Families, and, THE COUNTRY AS A WHOLE.
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CALCULATIONS OF ONE COMPANY WITH 100 EMPLOYEES, CAN ADD TEN$ OF THOUSAND$, “AVAILABLE FOR COVERAGE FOR ILLNESSES” IN THE FIRST YEAR ALONE. “GREAT HEALTH AND HUGE SAVINGS” within very short years, ALSO tax advantages.
NOTE: Catastrophic Insurance (GAP) can play its role for particular: “ACCIDENTAL SERIOUS INJURIES”…=.THAT INSURANCE COVERAGE IS NOT IGNORED!
Becoming “Connected” with “NATURAL grounding with “MOTHER EARTH” gives and brings many economic benefits, along with better health conditions for all. When someone gets started, with this concept of “ELECTRICAL CONTACT to EARTH”, it involves many natural healthy benefits: Repeat! Great savings also. Great flow of new found Capital plus Productivity at work is greatly increased. This becomes an important part of NATIONAL HEALTH ECONOMICS. This applies immediately to the National Economy as to: ALL CORPORATE FAMILIES ALSO. And SEMINARS lead to the following: OUR more formal follow up! Volunteers within individual Companies, join in with cohorts and Groups of other Associations. They can help to multiply / compound at no cost, very rapidly, “Millions of people. Leading to immediate “Billion$ and more to help our NATIONAL ECONOMY.” VERY TIMELY!
One important thing to consider is precedence occurred. EXAMPLE: A poor country, such as Bangledesh, was offered a similar opportunity of “Social” to help themselves with their own earnings from their own work. “The word of mouth” added great action and it worked wonders. BANGLEDESH, with its SOCIAL PLAN LINKED to their own personal activities has now, TODAY, become a known successful, financially viable country. (see: GRAMEEN BANK)
There are Companies, in the U S A today who are most anxious to hear how to increase production by implementing “ELECTRIC EARTH CONTACT! Our products available can answer this need. Comparatively, it is one new business for the ESD computer problems, also! The SACRED MISSION particular SOCIAL APPROACH is only the first “DRIP IN THE BIG BUCKET of demand vs. the whole world becoming aware of this real health expansion into huge financial benefits for everyone involved. Yes, great health from nature, complying, at no cost, to workers real work and monetary needs.
The exchange of “SACRED MISSION” principles, at a fraction of costs, if any, makes sense to all who hear about it: “A new SocReport