Here's A Gem Of An Idea That Can Change The Wealth Pyramid Into A Wealth Diamond

My faith in the possibility of having very few at the top, and very few at the bottom, is as strong as ever.

03/04/2017 1:27 PM AEST

Professor Muhammad Yunus
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Founder of Grameen Bank

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"Rapid concentration of wealth poses serious threats to political and social stability."

We are going through an unprecedented time around the world -- a deep sense of injustice is creating havoc through challenging established political and social cohesion and even stability. There is a tendency to see the current volatility as a mere development of populism, but the problem is grounded in generations of a flawed economic system.

We should overcome our obsession of looking for a quick solution. While keeping the faulty economic system unchanged, we cannot achieve meaningful stability. Rapid concentration of wealth also poses serious threats to political and social stability.

As the economy grows, the concentration of private wealth gets worse. The faster the rate of growth, the faster the rate of concentration of wealth. This disaster is dangerous because it destroys peace and harmony. It threatens human rights and democracy. It pushes the world towards social explosions, each worse than the previous one. It triggers armed conflicts among nations.

According to Oxfam, the eight richest people own more wealth than is owned by bottom half of the world population. According to their reports, in 2015 the 80 richest people, and in 2014 the 85 richest people owned more wealth than was owned by the bottom half of world population. In 2010, six years ago, it was the 388 richest people who had the pleasure of owning similar wealth.

They also told us that the wealth of the 80 richest people doubled in five years, between 2009 and 2014. This simply is not economically sustainable. How we can hope for stability if this trend continues?

Is the trend irreversible?

No, I do not believe that. My faith in the possibility of transforming a wealth-pyramid gradually into a new shape, a wealth-diamond -- very few at the top, and very few at the bottom, the bulk of the people in the middle, is as strong as ever.

First of all it is not an unalterable fate that mankind was born with. Since it is our own creation, we can solve it through our own efforts. Our efforts should be directed to unblock our minds.

The usual political agenda to reduce the problem focuses on the income-gap, not on the wealth-gap. It is done through a program of income redistribution, though I don't think addressing income inequality is a real answer. We will have to address the cause, not the manifestation of it. If we keep the wealth base unchanged, any reduction in the income gap will be ineffective.

Working with the poor has led me to realize many other problems of the poor. I tried to address some of them. I always tried to solve each problem by creating a new business. Over time it became a habit with me. They gradually started displaying some common features. They are created as sustainable businesses, but no one is allowed to take any personal profit out of it. Investors get back the investment money, nothing more. The company's profit is ploughed back into the company for improvement and expansion.

I called this new type of business a Social Business, defined as a non-dividend company to solve human problems. I was amazed how easy it was to solve human problems if we designed it as a business with the sole mission of solving a problem, and with no intention to benefit personally from the business.

A successful story of a social business is that of Grameen Danone Foods Ltd. Grameen and Group Danone went into a joint venture to create a yogurt fortified with micro-nutrients to decrease malnutrition for the children of Bangladesh.

The yogurt is produced with solar and bio gas energy and is served in environmentally friendly packaging. The first plant started production in late 2006. The long-term plan is to establish 50+ plants, create several hundred distribution jobs and self-degradable packaging.

Both joint venture partners have by agreement stated that they will not take any dividends out of the company. Their sole aim is the social objective of reducing malnutrition.


Professor Yunus will be on the panel of Q&A this evening, and will be speaking at the Australasian Social Business Forum in Melbourne on April 6, 2017.



Nobel Laureate Yunus Opens Ujjivan Bank’s First 5 Branches in Bangalore

Published ON: MF Monitor
Date:  February 7, 2017   

Shifting its business focus from microfinance to core banking, Bangalore-based Ujjivan Financial Services opened on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017, five branches in Bangalore with Bangladeshi Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus as the chief guest.

One significant feature that Ujjivan Bank will offer is to let its customers unlimited access to ATM transactions on its network and six free transactions on other bank’s ATM networks, making it one of the highest free transactions offered by any bank.

Ujjivan issued an IPO which was overwhelmingly subscribed in August last year and in November the RBI had given a license to set up the small finance bank. Ujjivan plans to open banking services along side its microfinance services and hopes to open as many branches in 24 states across India.

Human beings were not meant to be job-seekers: Muhammad Yunus

Published on: The Hindu

Date: February 07, 2017


Staff Reporter, Bengaluru: February 07, 2017 00:00 IST

Human beings were meant to be entrepreneurs and not job seekers, says Nobel Laureate and Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus. He was in the city to speak on ‘The zero effects of social business’ at the Indian Institute of of Science on Monday. He said countries like India and Bangladesh need a business system with a goal to solve humanity's problems, not profit-making.

According to Prof. Yunus, who pioneered micro-credit in Bangladesh, getting degrees to get jobs is the wrong way to come out of poverty. "When youths come to me saying they need jobs, I urge them to generate jobs. Human beings were never intended to be job seekers, but to use their creativity to find solutions to problems," he said.

Ujjivan Small Finance Bank to commence banking on February 6

Published on:

Date:  Feb 05, 2017

By Atmadip Ray, ET Bureau

KOLKATA: The UK's CDC Group-backed Ujjivan Small Finance Bank is going to open its first set of branches for public transaction on Monday and start rolling out branch network across India from next fiscal.

Ujjivan Managing Director Samit Ghosh said that the bank will test all the technical and connectivity issues over the next one month as a preparation before going full throttle.

Reserve Bank of India had issued a press statement on February 1 saying the bank commenced operation on that day. Ghosh has clarified to ET that the bank is operationally ready since February 1 but customer transaction will commence only on February 6.

Dwight Sproull – Blockchain Banking Can Transform Women’s Lives in Emerging Economies

Published on:

Date: February 4, 2017

By: Dwight Sproull

Only one-third of the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the world are run by women. Women-business owners in developing countries face significant challenges to run their businesses, particularly in accessing finance. An estimated 70 per cent of women-owned SMEs in the formal sector in emerging markets are underserved by financial institutions. This amounts to a financing gap of $285 billion. tellyseries