Social entrepreneurship is capitalism that uses profit as a tool to solve a social problem.
Innovation is an outcome of basic human creativity, which everyone has to some degree, put into action. Social entrepreneurship is an innovation on capitalism.
My work as a journalist is to shed light on social entrepreneurship and innovation happening in third-world societies and emerging economies.
My goal is to inspire others to start or participate in these initiatives regardless of who they are, where they are, or what they do.
Look around you. What part of your environment doesn’t exist because someone decided to get creative?
What part of your environment that contributes to the delineation between your modern life and cave dwelling didn’t come as a result of somebody picking up a tool–even if it was just their butts out of their seat–and making something? An object…an occurrence…a discovery…
No matter who you are, you probably look out into the world and see one or more problems. Things you would change if you could.
If you could.
But so many of us are convinced we can’t and that we don’t have time or resources to try, but this thinking is an illusion. A self-perpetuating myth largely due to the unbalanced influence popular media has on our thinking and perceptions. That influence works down into what we say to others, influencing them, and, in turn, perpetuates the myth that individuals have no say on how things will play out in our world. That we must accept whatever is given to us and rely on politicians and established power structures to make the big moves that define our direction as a civilization.
But history–one full of forward-thinking individuals with the courage to tune out the concept of “can’t” and become men and women of action–clearly demonstrates that this thinking is an obscene fallacy.
Capitalism is not evil. Quite the contrary, capitalism is synonymous with creation. A business creates profit by selling a product or service for more than it costs to produce or render. This creates resources for that enterprise. A portion of those resources are harvested to support the lives of the people involved with the capitalistic enterprise while another portion is reinvested into the enterprise itself in order to build it larger or develop it further. Social enterprises are capitalistic enterprises that choose to make solving a social problem part of their business…part of where they devote their resources. Historically, this has been the domain of governments and non-profit organizations.
But no longer. Social entrepreneurship is a bona fide revolution afoot.
A revolution against what?
We live in an age of global economic consolidation led by two forces: the conglomeration of corporate entities into each other and a second conglomeration between corporations and government power, i.e. big corporate money lining the pockets of politicians. And not just in America.
Trying to stop either of these forces at work is a near certain exercise in futility. But subverting it…therein lies the hope.
America’s founding fathers were aware of their capability to recreate civilization into the form that they desired. Then they became men of action and did it. Using violence, sure. But violence is just a tactic. There are other tactics. Nonviolent ones. More appropriate ones. It is my belief that in our current context, violence and protesting–vis-à-vis the Occupy movement–are tired, antiquated tactics that do little more than disrupt life and waste people’s valuable time and money. Why? Because nobody is obligated to listen…whether they’re driving by a public protest or looking at the business end of a weapon. It’s that simple. This energy could be much better utilized and harnessed through endeavors of creation instead of complaining and destroying. I believe social entrepreneurship is the great nonviolent revolution so many of us know needs to happen, and the good news is all of us are supremely qualified to participate in some way.
Social entrepreneurship is a paradigm shift. A rethinking of the point of capitalism, which until now has purely been “to make money.” Period. Human beings created capitalism, and believe it or not, we have the power to reshape it as we see fit. There is room in capitalism to do both well and good.
Indeed, the course of human history has depended so much on the individual decisions and follow-through of very, very few people. Liberated people. People who chose to trust in their instincts and talents…and go “all in.”
Imagine if Steve Jobs never followed his passion for computers…instead choosing to go along with the notion, which many held at their emergence, that computers would never amount to anything more than toys or inconsequential gadgets…certainly not technology with the power to remake all aspects of civilization as we knew it. What if Steve Jobs decided to do something safer or more conventional with his life? What if Steve Jobs became an accountant?
When it comes to capitalism, let us not be slaves to conventional thought and perception…unwittingly dependent on popular media for the manna with which we define our world, its institutions, and our limitations within them. Let us bring humanity and paradigm-shifting innovation to the concept of capitalism, the engine that powers our world. On a massive scale. If we do, I believe our world and its institutions will fall into line willingly.
Let us be men and women of action in this respect. This is the outcome I hope to inspire with my work.
Doing this is not easy or cheap. That said, I welcome any financial contributions or other practical help (such as story ideas, mechanical help with my bike, a couch to crash on, etc.) you may be in a position to provide.