Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Muhammad Yunus is a Dreamer

I recently finished two books written by Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, the father of microcredit and founder of Grameen Bank. I first read Yunus' autobiography, Banker to the Poor, which I enjoyed so much that I immediately followed up with Creating a World Without Poverty, his introduction to the concept of social business. I recommend both books.

Rather than provide you with my own summary of the two books, I encourage you to read the best summary: Yunus' Nobel Prize acceptance speech, which is available in full text by clicking here.

By Yunus' own admission, he is a dreamer. Below is a wish list of his dreams as recorded in Creating a World Without Poverty:
  • There will be no poor people, no beggars, no homeless people, no street children anywhere in the world. Every country will have its own poverty museum. The global poverty museum will be located in the country that is the last to come out of poverty.
  • There will be no passports and no visas for anybody anywhere in the world. All people will be truly global citizens of equal status.
  • There will be no war, no war preparations, and no military establishment to fight wars. There will be no nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction.
  • There will be no more incurable diseases, from cancer to AIDS, anywhere in the world. Disease will become a very rare phenomenon subject to immediate and effective treatment. High-quality healthcare will be available to everyone. Infant mortality and maternal mortality will be things of the past.
  • There will be a global education system accessible to all from anywhere in the world. All children will experience fun and excitement in learning and growing up. All children will grow up as caring and sharing persons, believing that their own development should be consistent with the development of others in the world.
  • The global economic system will encourage individuals, businesses, and institutions to share their prosperity and participate actively in bringing prosperity to others, making income inequality an irrelevant issue. "Unemployment" and "welfare" will be unheard of.
  • Social business will be a substantial part of the business world.
  • There will be only one global currency. Coins and paper currency will be gone.
  • Technology will be available with which all secret bank accounts and transactions of politicians, government officials, business people, intelligence agencies, underworld organizations, and terrorist groups can be easily detected and monitored.
  • State-of-the art financial services of every kind will be available to every person in the world.
  • All people will be committed to maintaining a sustainable lifestyle based on appropriate technologies. Sun, water, and wind will be the main sources of power.
  • Humans will be able to forecast earthquakes, cyclones, tsunamis, and other natural disasters precisely and in plenty of time to minimize damage and loss of life.
  • There will be no discrimination of any kind, whether based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political belief, language, culture, or any other factor.
  • There will be no need of paper and therefore no need to cut down trees. There will be biodegradable reusable synthetic papers, in cases where "paper" is absolutely needed.
  • Basic connectivity will be wireless and nearly costless.
  • Everybody will read and hear everything in his own language. Technology will make it possible for a person to speak, read, and write in his own language while the listener will hear and the reader will read the message in his own language. Software and gadgets will translate simultaneously as one speaks or downloads any text. One will be able to watch any TV channel from anywhere and hear the words in his own language.
  • All cultures, ethnic groups, and religions will flourish to their full beauty and creativity, contributing to the magnificent unified orchestra of human society.
  • All people will enjoy an environment of continuous innovation, restructuring of institutions, and revisiting of concepts and ideas.
  • All peoples will share a world of peace, harmony, and friendship devoted to expanding the frontiers of human potential.

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