Profit Meets Purpose: Why Social Entrepreneurship Suggests a Possible Future for Global Capitalism
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
As the first Internet stock bubble neared its popping point in 1999, IBM chief executive Lou Gerstner famously dismissed the dot-com start-ups of his day as “fireflies before the storm–all stirred up, throwing off sparks.” The Internet would truly achieve its disruptive potential, Gerstner argued presciently, when thousands of big institutions around the world started using the new communication and technology platform to transform themselves.
Nearly 15 years later, we see a new set of fireflies before a different storm. This time, an explosion of creativity in social entrepreneurship has unfolded against the backdrop of a crisis in global capitalism. Barely half of Americans polled in 2010 by GlobeScan said they believed in the free-market system, down from 80 percent in 2002. A large majority had lost trust in government. Throughout Europe, only small minorities said they believed in free-market capitalism.