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Capitalism, when humans are the commodity

In human history there's nothing new about people being used as tradeable commodities, nor is there any novelty in opposing this.

The argument  for a people-centered approach to economics, began with an assertion for the need  to measure profit in a different way: 

"Modifying the output of capitalism is the only method available to resolving the problem of capitalism where numbers trumped people – at the hands of people trained toward profit represented only by numbers and currencies rather than human beings.  Profit rules, people are expendable commodities represented by numbers.  The solution, and only solution, is to modify that output, measuring profit in terms of real human beings instead of numbers."

In the 2003 development proposal for Crimea's Tatars, a peacful Islamic cvommunity under Ukrainian government, P-CED's founder had drawn attention to the strategic risks of leaving people in poverty      

"In the emerging global war against terrorism, first response has necessarily been to target and destroy existing terrorist organizations. This is a case of global self-defense. Preventing terrorism is at least equally important. There is an emerging consensus that poverty provides the essential breeding ground for terrorism to emerge. People with nothing have nothing to lose and much to gain."

The point was reiterated the following year, when introduced to the UK:

"While the vast majority of people in poverty suffer quietly and with little protest, it is not safe to assume that everyone will react the same way. When in defence of family and friends, it is completely predictable that it should be only a matter of time until uprisings become sufficient to imperil an entire nation or region of the world. People with nothing have nothing to lose. Poverty was therefore deemed not only a moral catastrophe but also a time bomb waiting to explode"

In Creating a World Without Poverty , Muhammad Yunus again raises the point about the creation of profit from any tradeable commodity and risk of violence,

"Poverty leads to hopelessness, which provokes people to desperate acts. Those with practically nothing have no good reason to refrain from violence, since even acts with only a small chance of improving their conditions seem better than doing nothing and accepting their fate with passivity.

Poverty also creates economic refugees, leading to clashes between populations. It leads to bitter conflicts between peoples, clans and nations over scarce resources water, arable land, energy supplies and any saleable commodity."

Children, as it turns out were a saleable commofity within the corrupt childcare system of Ukraine and following the dellvery of the 'Marshall Plan' to Ukraine's governemt, US government were alerted to the extent of the commodification:  

Calling on support from USAID in 2008,  we drew attention to how childcare institutions had become money farms and how a trade in body parts from 'aborted to order' foetuses was supplying the demands of a growing cosmetics industry. 

"There is also the much more visible matter of kids in “regular” orphanages and kids living on the streets and in sewers. Orphanages have been another money-maker via selling “top” kids to foreign adoptions. Kids with lesser market value (over seven years old and/or serious health issues) were shunted to lesser quality, out-of-the-way orphanages. Kids with no market value were tossed aside completely, i.e., PN facilities a.k.a. Death Camps, for Children. President Yushchenko rightfully suspended foreign adoptions for a period of time because orphanages were normally operated more like livestock farms with product for sale. It’s mostly not the staff who are any sort of problem in these orphanages, although redundant independent evidence strongly indicates that sometimes arrangements have somehow been made for adults to come in and “play” with children of their choosing during the night. More often it comes down to even the best, most sincere staff having had their hands tied regarding what little they could do for the children assigned to them, because so much money was displaced as to leave comparative crumbs for caring for the kids. Once orphanage children reach the age of seventeen, they’re booted out into the world with hardly any preparation to deal with it. If kids are attractive enough, they can be (and are) taken into prostitution rings and rented out for sex work. If they got a bit of training at night in their orphanage, they are better prepared for sex work. (In Kharkiv, militia runs that operation. For Donetsk and Donbass, it’s Donetsk mafia. Variations on the same theme play out across Ukraine.) Street kids are street kids mainly because they consider living in orphanages until seventeen worse than living on the streets and sleeping in sewers. Of course they also have access to street drugs to take the edge off their miseries. That coupled with unprotected sex and inevitable prostitution produces an HIV/AIDS factory. In Ukraine at this moment, HIV is a pandemic and getting worse."

Grameen and their partners Erste Bank were seen as a natural allies when we approached then in 2010 with a proposal for the Social Business Ideas Competition  As we slowly began to realise, there's quite a distance between acknowledging the commodification of humans and finding those willlig to do anything about it. 

Neoliberalism has been described as putting profit befor people and it soon would become clear that this was the agenda for Ukraine, with Erste Bank becoming partners with USAID, The British Council and PWC who we'd calld upon to respect the copyright of our Marshall Plan and in particular a proposal for social enterprise development. 

At the Philanthropic Roundatable of Davos when violence had broken out in 2014 Muhammaf Yunus sat alongside Blair Branson and gates to lament the crisis, yet notably none had been willing to support our cause.

"How do we build a human identitiy back into business" asks Muhammad Yunus going on to describe social business and a social stock market.

"A business is an idea that makes a positive difference to other people's lives", Richard Branson chips in.  His organisation Virgin Unite had been approached in 2009, with a plan to make the lives of thousands of children better, by giving them  a loving family home. I'd responded to his appeal for business to focus more on social problems.

Fine words indeed yet unsupported by deeds.  Roundtable host Vitkor Pinchuk is renowned for it, as Death Camps, For Children had pointed out:

“Excuses won’t work, particularly in light of a handful of oligarchs in Ukraine having been allowed to loot Ukraine’s economy for tens of billions of dollars. I point specifically to Akhmetov, Pinchuk, Poroshenko, and Kuchma, and this is certainly not an exhaustive list. These people can single-handedly finance 100% of all that will ever be needed to save Ukraine’s orphans. None of them evidently bother to think past their bank accounts, and seem to have at least tacit blessings at this point from the new regime to keep their loot while no one wants to consider Ukraine’s death camps, and the widespread poverty that produced them..”