In his appeal, George Soros argues that it’s not enough for the European Union to simply punish the Russians. Rather, there is an urgent need to actually aid the Ukrainians and to prevent popular living standards from collapsing any further than they already have.
It's a reasonable argument. Not too far from that made in a 'Marshall Plan' for Ukraine that was offered free of charge, but not free of commitment to Ukraine's govermnent in 2006. It said this about the crisis of their social economy:
"We see a staggering array of social problems arising directly from poverty, including but not limited to tens of thousands of children in orphanages or other state care; crime; disrespect for civil government because government cannot be felt or seen as civil for anyone left to suffer in poverty; young people prostituting themselves on the street; drug abuse to alleviate the aches and pains of the suffering that arises from poverty and misery; HIV/AIDS spreading like a plague amidst prostitution, unprotected sex, and drug abuse; more children being born into this mix and ending up in state care at further cost to the state; criminals coming from poverty backgrounds, ending up as bandits, returning to communities after prison, with few options except further criminal activity. These are all part and parcel of the vicious negative cycle of poverty, and this threatens to destroy Ukraine, if Ukraine is defined in terms of people rather than mere geographic boundaries. Overall, population is steadily declining; families have not sufficient confidence in tomorrow to reproduce more than 1.2 children on average per couple."
With a suggestion that what was then being spent on Iraq every week, 1.5 billion dollars, it made the case for investing in those who most needed assistance, It was suggested that US goverment provide half of this funding in projects which would pay for themselves over 5 years. A nil overal cost strategy:
"This is a long-term permanently sustainable program, the basis for "people-centered" economic development. Core focus is always on people and their needs, with neediest people having first priority – as contrasted with the eternal chase for financial profit and numbers where people, social benefit, and human well-being are often and routinely overlooked or ignored altogether. This is in keeping with the fundamental objectives of Marshall Plan: policy aimed at hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. This is a bottom-up approach, starting with Ukraine's poorest and most desperate citizens, rather than a "top-down" approach that might not ever benefit them. They cannot wait, particularly children. Impedance by anyone or any group of people constitutes precisely what the original Marshall Plan was dedicated to opposing. Those who suffer most, and those in greatest need, must be helped first -- not secondarily, along the way or by the way.
From there, broad economic and social development can develop "upwards" concurrently with more conventional top-down approaches to economic development. Moreover, this program will not only meet initial, most critical and urgent objectives of childcare reform and poverty relief in Ukraine, it will also provide training for ever-growing numbers of specialists educated in social enterprise economic thinking with sufficient funding to put ever more well-designed projects into action as Ukrainian citizens invent them."
The commitment required of Ukrain'e goverment was to take action on the issue of 'Death Camps for Children' and with pledges for 400+ rehab centres announced, government had shown good intent to place all children in loving family homes. Founder Terry Hallman wrote:
"It is not enough to help these kids without dealing with the causes -- primarily corruption and displacement of Ukraine's cash and resources -- that put children in such conditions to begin with. This systemic recognition is at least beginning to be understood. The 'Marshall Plan' details it, and provides comprehensive solutions with a financial net-cost to government over seven years of: zero. That's about as well as it can be done. It will work, and it must be done if Ukraine wants to become a member of civilized nations. US and Europe can and should help, but only after first conditions are met unilaterally by Ukraine -- the sole condition on which I released the 'Marshall Plan for Ukraine.' Those conditions are simple: take care of your children, all of them, close the orphanages and gulags, open the truth of the matter, and never try to hide any of it again."
Soros is not alone among business leaders. Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson has called for a "peaceful resolution" of the Ukraine crisis in an open letter signed by a group of high-profile international businessmen.
Ten Ukrainian and Russian businessmen, the head of Unilever Paul Polman, Nobel Laureate Muhammed Yunus, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin and former eBay president Jeff Skoll joined Branson in his call for "conversations, not armed conflict" over Ukraine.
They offer whatever support they can to help resolve the crisis
A strange thing to hear from Sir Richard whose Virgin Unite charity was called upon for support in 2009 when Branson called for business to focus more on social problems at the Davos 'Ukrainian Lunch'
The same goes for Jeff Skoll, on whose Social Edge platform we had frequently described our efforts in Ukraine.
Then there's Muhammad Yunus whose partners Erste Bank and Grameen Creative Labs, both had a copy of the proposal.
Just a year ago, the Maidan group had called on the EU for support which included a 'Marshall Plan'
It seems clear enough that social innovation, to create social benefit in its own right will never come without a neoliberal agenda.