6 Mar 2009

Young Fundraisers: One child’s gift

A few days ago I was telephoned by a mother whose child is a patient at our surgery. She said that her son wanted to come to see me, but not for health reasons. I told them to come at six, which they did. The child, called Anton, presented me with a letter. It read: "Hello Dr.Stoma. This money is for boys and girls you help. I hope they can go to school one day and are able to eat. Instead of giving me gifts for my birthday, I told my friends to give me money so you can build schools for them," signed Antón.

Antón celebrated his seventh birthday a few days ago and asked his friends for money instead of presents, so he could help children less fortunate than himself. Anton was very confident in what he had done, and as he walked out of the room he it left me with a lump in my throat.

5 Mar 2009

Closer to Creative Capitalism

The World Economic Forum held recently in Davos has shown how the model of capitalism without reins has failed by allowing frivolous neo liberalism. We have also seen that under no circumstances market forces should be allowed to govern the fate of mankind.

Up until now, we’ve witnessed the way that these global decisions have been made, and it’s tempting to ask the great meeting of minds (ie. the world leaders) that while looking for solutions to global economic crisis, they take basic humanity into consideration. Or will we see them putting the interests of the great companies and corporations to the forefront, and focussing on rebuilding their fortunes?

Humanity is one thing but its future is another. We have been presented with a wonderful opportunity to undo the mistakes of how the world has functioned economically and to develop ways of working which encourages not just having "money today" but "markets for the future."

It’s time that governments are involved in the redistribution of wealth and opportunity in this world. They should encourage the collaboration between non-profit organisations and businesses, with investment in the Third World and Free Trade, otherwise, as has been the case, profits fail to reach all the links in the chain and have no benefit to the local growers or manufacturers.

We must reach a point that the First World realises it’s in everyone's interest to create viable and fair trade markets in the Third World. The air we breathe does not respect borders, therefore corporate responsibility must look far beyond the notion of pure profit and national fronteers.

Recently, economic growth has appeared to have no end and where the "American Way" rules and focuses on the great God Money , the notion of Creative Capitalism would’ve seemed almost a dream, if not blatantly naïve.
However Creative Capitalism has its own champion in the form of Bill Gates, an icon for the business world who takes this subject seriously. In short, capitalism has been good for the rich, has made great advances for humanity but has left out billions of people who have not been able to enjoy the wealth and progress of the world. We are living in a world where 28,000 children die daily needlessly from hunger.
Gates argues that companies must develop a strategy to redistribute wealth and create viable markets. It is a concept that can develop in the future for the good of humanity.
Governments and supernational organisations have failed to correct inequality and shortcomings of this planet even with advancements in technology, knowledge and vast amounts of money. The ways they operate in are often overburdened with bureaucracy, and biased by political interests when it comes to deciding how to function fairly and effectively.

Awareness by companies of the responsibility they have with the world, their ability to make decisions quickly, coupled with their light weight beureaucracy, and the knowledge and infrastructure of non-profit organisations creates a union that could work, be cost effective and perform better than all the know sytems up to date.

It is logical that the companies have to make something out of this. What they achieve depends on their imagination and inventiveness. At the very least, they can improve their image and increased customer loyalty. Ethical, ecological and socially active and aware companies are seen as "for the people/public/population" i.e. friendly and not as as simply a ruthles establishment willing to use any instument to take money out of clients pockets.

Creative Capitalism is just one link in the chain to build a better future and most importantly, it is an opportunity for a new global economy that is more equitable and sustainable.