Weekly Roundup – 11/30/13: Pope’s scathing review of capitalism puts BoP on front pages around the world
Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation this week put the BoP on the front page of every newspaper in the world.
As most of us have heard by now, the pope came out on Tuesday with a scathing review of capitalism. It’s led to income disparity across the globe, he said, and sets up competition in which “the powerful feed upon the powerless.” In summary: “The socioeconomic system is unjust at its root.”
It was, of course, big news. Debate over his words has been raging across all disciplines. Economists, ethicists, political pundits and church leaders are all chiming in, telling us what they thought the pope meant. Those who pursue development through enterprise should be heard from, too, because the pope’s words are especially relevant in this context.
The pope is pessimistic that the free market can bring about long-term positive changes. Where Francis sees a system that is all about exclusion, however, others see a system that can make the planet healthier and happier through inclusion.
The pope sees a system that “rules rather than serves;” others see a system that – in spite of its obvious flaws – has the potential to do just the opposite.
This potential is at the heart of our work in social enterprise. Social entrepreneurs have seen what happens when the BoP is integrated into formal economies through the “invisible hand,” by providing products they need and want. They know what a difference it would make if more people from the BoP rose to the middle class. A few of these entrepreneurs are featured in the blogs listed below, demonstrating through their work that business can be used to improve lives around the planet.
The pope has started a discussion about a topic near and dear to our hearts. We’ll do our best to keep it going.
In Case You Missed It … This Week on NextBillion
NexThought Monday: What’s your feedback loop? (Part 1) By Dennis Whittle and Elizabeth Christopherson — Ashoka
Faith and Finance: The director of an Islamic microfinance institution discusses the challenges of mixing business and religion By Emily Youatt — Mercy Corps
Don’t Forget Hygiene: Health care delivery in sub-Saharan Africa is complicated, but simple things still matter By Kyle Poplin — WDI
Using Feedback Loops to Move from Collaboration to Collective Impact : Part 2 in a series on the power of community feedback By Jeff Edmondson
Sterilization Without Electricity: Technology being adapted to make surgery safer in low-resource environments By James Bernstein and Ariel Trilling
(With Video) One Acre Fund’s Drive Toward Sustainable Farming and Sustainable Finance: An interview with Stephanie Hanson By Scott Anderson — WDI
The Magic of Mobile Money: Looking back on the days when I used to sellotape coins on order slips By Nigel Waller
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