"Allowing that some people do not matter, as things are turning out, allows that other people do not matter and those cracks are widening to swallow up more and more people. Social enterprise is the first concerted effort in the Information Age to at least attempt to rectify that problem, if only because letting it get worse and worse threatens more and more of us. Growing numbers of people are coming to understand that “them” might equal “me.” Call it compassion, or call it enlightened and increasingly impassioned self-interest. Either way, we are all in this together, and we will each have to decide for ourselves what it means to ignore someone to death, or not."
These were the words of Terry Hallman who lost his life in Ukraine while trying to raise social investment for abandoned children, As I described in my blog "The day we become silent about things that matter"
(Kalinovka orphanage 2007 - photo by Albert Pavlov of Happy Child)
Echoes in the Huffington Post
It was a blog article on The Law of Love and Compassion which drew my attention recently. With a plug for the B Team, it had quite a lot in common with my own blog on The Law of Love and the Law of Violence, as one of the influences on our business for social benefit. Becoming partners in the Charter for Compassion had aligned well with the case we'd made for reciprocity in applyong compassionate economics, to tackle the root causes of conflict.
A coincidence perhaps. But there was also the article on Every Child Deserves a Loving Family,. My article for Mixmarket on Every Child Deserves a Loving Family had been based on our 2007 'Marshall Plan' proposal for Ukraine, in which the primary focus had been placement of children in loving family homes. That's what we were doing in business for social benefit.
Again, perhaps a coincidence. But then there was another - What is the Purpose of Business?
was an article I published on Linkedin, It was based on the 1996 paper describing the P-CED business model which challenged Friedman's assertion on shareholder primacy. I began with this question - Isn't the true purpose of business and economics to benefit people?
"It is only when wealth begins to concentrate in the hands of a relative few at the expense of billions of others who are denied even a small share of finite wealth that trouble starts and physical, human suffering begins. It does not have to be this way. Massive greed and consequent massive human misery and suffering do not have to be accepted as a givens, unavoidable, intractable, irresolvable. Just changing the way business is done, if only by a few companies, can change the flow of wealth, ease and eliminate poverty, and leave us all with something better to worry about. Basic human needs such as food and shelter are fundamental human rights; there are more than enough resources available to go around--if we can just figure out how to share. It cannot be "Me first, mine first"; rather, "Me, too" is more the order of the day."
I wrote Re-imagining Capitalism: The New Bottom Line for McKinsey, months later Paul Polman of Unilever wrote Where Our Moral Compass Meets The Bottom Line as if re-imagining the P-CED model:
"It is nothing less than a new business model. One that focuses on the long term. One that sees business as part of society, not separate from it. One where companies seek to address the big social and environmental issues that threaten social stability. One where the needs of citizens and communities carry the same weight as the demands of shareholders"
"People should replace profit as the Bottom Line" wrote Mark Goldrin of Oxfam
Copyright and Creative Commons
Last but by no means least was A Marshall Plan for Ukraine. describing a plan backed by one of Ukraine's oligarchs.
Our own 'Marshall Plan for Ukraine had been delivered to Ukraine's goverment in 2007 and subsequently published as a news article for ForUA magazine before being shared widely. An article which reiterated George Marshall's warning to those whose intent was profit from perpetuating human misery. It is copyright protected and fefended by a Creative Commons licence.
There seems to be one constant. Though Huffpost invites readers to connect with their authors on Twitter, they are never willing to engage.
Describing ourselves as a 'profit for purpose' business we'd gone to Ukraine where in 2006 our founder's Death Camps. For Children articles had raised awaremess of the conditions of institutional chlidcare in which dsiabled children were forced to live. An organised crime operation where the vulnerable had become the market commodity .
I think we'd have given our right arm at the time for support from mainstream media. Even 3 years ago, when Arianna Huffington hosted a Skoll discussion on Cultivating Empathy.
After we delivered the 'Marshall Plan proposal to government in 2007, we'd learn that a group of those we'd introduced it to, including USAID, The British Council and Erste Bank were creating their own version of the social enterprise development centre our proposal had described. .
USAID who'd been called on in 2008 for support, had been given a clear picture of the market for children and their bodyparts.
It was to another partner, Price Waterhouse Coopers that our founder directed his appeal to respect the intellectual property of our work A social enterprise initiative was badly need indeed, but in a country where IP theft is something of a national sport, it wasn't a good grounding for business with social intentions. The reference to the Ghost of Christmas Present would prove to be prescient for a man soon to discover a world in which he never existed.
"Without IPR protections, it is extremely unlikely that social enterprise can take root in Ukraine. Reason: any social enterprise project, anywhere in the world, which is capable of turning a profit can have the 'social' part stripped out in favor of increased financial profit. If you understand Ukraine, you surely understand that is instinctive"
There they are, on Huffington Post hosting articles on Profit + Purpose.
Does their candle burn any brighter by snuffing out ours?
There was a profound difference between our approach and theirs. Whereas we had collaborted with local human rights activists and academics to raise awareness of the worst social problems,they'd made partners with the oligarchs who we'd seen as the root cause of the problems: It was bound to lead to conflict, and did.
“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..”
Read the 'Marshall Plan' for Ukra\ne and what it says about profit and social purpose, then read all that the B team has said since.
Abova all, ask yourself what Richard Branson and Tony Blair are doing at the table of one of the aforementioned oligarchs. seemingly regurgitating what the 'Marshall Plan' argued 7 years before violence erupted:
What you'll never read about in the Huffington Post, is a 'Marshall Plan' for the benefit of those in greatest need:
'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. '
Business as a 'Force for Good'