Tag Archives: business

Is social enterprise a palliative?

In the following interview with the late Pamela Hartigan,  we may hear her question the effectiveness of social enterprise which requires it to be beholding to a sponsor.

Twice she uses the term palliative to describe how disruptors are rendered accountable to their contracter and risk being coopted:  

As most will know , the Skoll Centre at Oxford which Pamela headed, is sponsored by billionaire Jeff Skoll, co-founder of Ebay 

More than a decade ago, it was a Black Women’s group leader, Ruthie Gilmore of Incite! who drew our attention to the nonprofit industrial complex and how neoliberalims drives it. They had been unable to find a way to seed  and propagate change that was autonomous. Hence – “The Revolution Will Not Be Funded”

“Noeliberalism is not new nice guys, it’s new mean guys”

it was on the Skoll Social Edge forum a decade ago, that advocates and practitioners for autonomous social innovation shared views on Profit for a Purpose

it came at a time when we’d completed our proposal for a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine, which included this quote from General George Marshall in 1947

“Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist. Such assistance, I am convinced, must not be on a piecemeal basis as various crises develop. Any assistance that this Government may render in the future should provide a cure rather than a mere palliative. Any government that is willing to assist in the task of recovery will find full co-operation I am sure, on the part of the United States Government. Any government which maneuvers to block the recovery of other countries cannot expect help from us. Furthermore, governments, political parties, or groups which seek to perpetuate human misery in order to profit therefrom politically or otherwise will encounter the opposition of the United States.”

As our late founder would point out in this paper. simply resolving the most urgent problems was not a permanent solution. we needed to think about how capitalism could be redirected for permanent change.

Rather than becoming a McKinsey consultant, I simply shared what we’d bewen doing for their Long Term Capitalism initiative, where Re-imaginging Capitalism – The New Bottom Line became one of the most popular contributions:

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Will the Labour new economy be people-centred?

“Traditional capitalism is an insufficient economic model allowing monetary outcomes as the bottom line with little regard to social needs. Bottom line must be taken one step further by at least some companies, past profit, to people. How profits are used is equally as important as creation of profits. Where profits can be brought to bear by willing individuals and companies to social benefit, so much the better. Moreover, this activity must be recognized and supported at government policy level as a badly needed, essential, and entirely legitimate enterprise activity.”

The statement above came in 2004, from a business plan shared with the social enterprise community and several branches of goverment.  It came with a warning about social unrest:

“The opportunity for poverty relief was identified not only as a moral imperative, but also as an increasingly pressing strategic imperative. People left to suffer and languish in poverty get one message very clearly: they are not important and do not matter. They are in effect told that they are disposable, expendable. Being left to suffer and die is, for the victim, little different than being done away with by more direct means. Poverty, especially where its harsher forms exist, puts people in self-defence mode, at which point the boundaries of civilization are crossed and we are back to the law of the jungle: kill or be killed. While the vast majority of people in poverty suffer quietly and with little protest, it is not safe to assume that everyone will react the same way. When in defence of family and friends, it is completely predictable that it should be only a matter of time until uprisings become sufficient to imperil an entire nation or region of the world. People with nothing have nothing to lose. Poverty was therefore deemed not only a moral catastrophe but also a time bomb waiting to explode.”

That same year, founder Terry Hallman was interviewed by a leader of the Crimean Tatar diaspora about his recent efforts to stimulate local economy conditions. He described the success of  a community microfinance bank in a project he’d sourced in Tomsk Russia:     

“Essentially, P-CED challenges conventional capitalism as an insufficient economic paradigm, as evidenced by billions of people in the world living in poverty in capitalist countries and otherwise. Under the conventional scheme, capitalism – enterprise for profit – has certainly transformed much of the world and created a new breed of people in capitalist societies, the middle class. That is a good thing. But, capitalism seems to have developed as far as it can to produce this new class of fairly comfortable people between rich and poor, at least in the West where it has flourished for quite some time.

The problem is that profit and money still tend to accumulate in the hands of comparatively few people. Money, symbolically representing wealth and ownership of material assets, is not an infinite resource. When it accumulates in enormous quantities in the hands of a few people, that means other people are going to be denied. If everyone in the world has enough to live a decent life and not in poverty, then there is no great problem with some people having far more than they need. But, that’s not the case, and there are no rules in the previous capitalist system to fix that. Profit and numbers have no conscience, and anything done in their name has been accepted as an unavoidable aspect of capitalism.”

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Smell the Roses!

How to make memories: I find blogging one of the most rewarding pastimes in my life. It was also a year of not trying to be all business all the time: I started reading fiction regularly after a decade away and letting the topics here drift wherever my interest is at the moment. Last year […] Continue reading

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From Conversation to Conversion

Why does this matter? Because “users” may not be ready to step into your “funnel.” Being intuitive only gets you so far. Remember, it’s emotion that shapes behavior. Your customers’ expectations from a digital experience are different today. Dare to not delight them at your own peril. http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/storytelling-user-experience-a-collision/296037/ Adam’s story about storytelling dovetails quite well […] Continue reading

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income.com is not just another company or website, it is a movement. It is a movement to make entrepreneurship cool again and it’s single purpose is to encourage, support, and educate aspiring entrepreneurs and turn them into successful job creators … Continue reading Continue reading

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People involved in the business of literature “are better placed to collaborate with other cultural institutions and lifestyle purveyors, with restaurants, with bars, with museums, with arthouse cinemas, creating thematic connections and cultural nexuses”

Publishing is a word that, like the book, is almost but not quite a proxy for the “business of literature.” Current accounts of publishing have the industry about as imperiled as the book, and the presumption is that if we … Continue reading
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