Muhammad is that rare thing: a bona fide visionary. His dream is the total eradication of poverty from the world. In 1983, against the advice of banking and government officials, Yunus established Grameen, a bank devoted to providing the poorest of Bangladesh with minuscule loans. Grameen Bank, based on the belief that credit is a basic human right, not the privilege of a fortunate few, now provides over 2.5 billion dollars of micro-loans to more than two million families in rural Bangladesh. Ninety-four percent of Yunus’s clients are women, and repayment rates are near 100 percent. Around the world, micro-lending programs inspired by Grameen are blossoming, with more than three hundred programs established in the United States alone.
Banker to the Poor is Muhammad’s memoir of how he decided to change his life in order to help the world’s poor. In it he traces the intellectual and spiritual journey that led him to fundamentally rethink the economic relationship between rich and poor, and the challenges he and his colleagues faced in founding Grameen. He also provides wise, hopeful guidance for anyone who would like to join him in “putting homelessness and destitution in a museum so that one day our children will visit it and ask how we could have allowed such a terrible thing to go on for so long.” The definitive history of micro-credit direct from the man that conceived of it, Banker to the Poor is necessary and inspirational reading for anyone interested in economics, public policy, philanthropy, social history, and business.
Muhammad was born in Bangladesh and earned his Ph.D. in economics in the United States at Vanderbilt University, where he was deeply influenced by the civil rights movement. He still lives in Bangladesh, and travels widely around the world on behalf of Grameen Bank and the concept of micro-credit.
Muhammad was born in 1940 in Chittagong, a seaport in Bangladesh. The third of fourteen children, five of whom died in infancy, he was educated at Dhaka University and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study economics at Vanderbilt University. In 1972 he became the head of the economics department at Chittagong University. He is the founder and managing director of the Grameen Bank.
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What if you could harness the power of the free market to solve the problems of poverty, hunger, and inequality? To some, it sounds impossible. But Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad is doing exactly that. As founder of Grameen Bank, Yunus pioneered microcredit, the innovative banking program that provides poor people––mainly women––with small loans they use to launch businesses and lift their families out of poverty. In the past thirty years, microcredit has spread to every continent and benefited over 100 million families. But Yunus remained unsatisfied. Much more could be done, he believed, if the dynamics of capitalism could be applied to humanity’s greatest challenges.
Now, in Creating a World Without Poverty, Yunus goes beyond microcredit to pioneer the idea of social business––a completely new way to use the creative vibrancy of business to tackle social problems from poverty and pollution to inadequate health care and lack of education. This book describes how Yunus––in partnership with some of the world’s most visionary business leaders––has launched the world’s first purposely designed social businesses. From collaborating with Danone to produce affordable, nutritious yogurt for malnourished children in Bangladesh to building eyecare hospitals that will save thousands of poor people from blindness, Creating a World Without Poverty offers a glimpse of the amazing
future Yunus forecasts for a planet transformed by thousands of social businesses. Yunus’s “Next Big Idea�? offers a pioneering model for nothing less than a new, more humane form of capitalism.
“ By giving poor people the power to help themselves, Dr. Yunus
has offered them something far more valuable than a plate of
food––security in its most fundamental form.�?
––Former President Jimmy Carter
“ Muhammad is a practical visionary who has improved
the lives of millions of people in his native Bangladesh and
elsewhere in the world.�? ––Los Angeles Times
“ [Yunus’s] ideas have already had a great impact on the
Third World, and…hearing his appeal for a ‘poverty-free world’
from the source itself can be as stirring as that all-American
myth of bootstrap success.�? ––The Washington Post
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This third book by Professor Yunus, following Banker to the Poor and Creating a World Without Poverty, is dedicated solely towards the concept of social business, its implementation, and its maintenance. Social business is an innovative business model which promotes the idea of doing business in order to address a social problem, and not to maximize profit. As the title suggests, this complement to traditional capitalism truly can serve humanity’s most pressing needs, especially poverty. Each and every social business creates employment, good working conditions, and of course, addresses a specific social ill such as lack of education, healthcare, and good nutrition.
In simple terms, a social business is a non-loss, non-dividend company dedicated entirely to achieve a social goal. In social business, the investor gets his investment money back over time, but never receives dividend beyond that amount. The Grameen Bank is a prime example of social business, with the Grameen borrowers themselves being its shareholders!
Building Social Business consists of case studies, anecdotes, and solid advice from Professor Yunus himself. This “Social Business Manual�? is a must read for anyone who wants to use his or her creativity to make a positive impact in their neighborhood, town, country, and world.
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