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The World of Three Zeros

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Question: Students are required to analyse the issues discussed in the book ‘A World of Three Zeros’.  Then, give your opinion on how the world today can be made better in the context of economy.  Provide some real examples that you can relate with the issues. (About 1500 words).


The world of three zeroes talks about the perception and in some instances the truth about how our world has evolved through the economic lens predominantly by adopting capitalism. Capitalism is defined as an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than the state 1. Though it has been regarded as a free market, capitalism has contributed to the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the very few. This has caused inequality in resource distribution which has resulted in social unrest, political polarization and growing tension among groups. The people who normally suffer is the poor who have no means of acquiring resources to lead a normal life much less a happy one. Poor countries and people have no access to clean drinking water, infrastructure, medical assistance and education just to name a few.

Nobel prize winner Muhammad Yunus realized this growing gap and introduced the idea of microcredit via the well renowned Grameen Bank in his homeland Bangladesh. A country which is at the far end of poverty, he saw the opportunity to introduce a new economic reform that would change the world and how it operates. The entire Bank is built on trust and it serves the poor and needy. No collateral is requested, no legal documents are demanded, no proof of “creditworthiness” is required 2. The repayment rate of 98.96% was mind-blowing for what was considered as unacceptable in mainstream financial business. The money which is returned is ploughed back to fund another business run by the poor in spite of paying the rich credit owners. The investors who provided capital to launch the businesses were able to get back their initial investment, but nothing more. This whole concept is called “Social Business”. It’s a new form of Enterprise based on the human virtue of selflessness and a non-dividend company dedicated to solving human problems 3.

There are three main human issues that we should be focussing on as we progress steadily towards globalization and development. None of which will matter if we don’t heed the warning of these three topics. The first is to bring an end to extreme poverty which is defined as an income of less than US1.25 per day. Poverty wasn’t created by poor people but rather by the economic system in which all the wealth is concentrate to the top. This is true because poverty exist in a poor nation as well as in a developed country like the United States and France. Poor people have the potential to earn but face an impossible feat to start due to conventional methods of economics and banking. You don’t need a degree to launch a small-scale business, all you need is a small capital and a sound idea. This was possible using “Social Business”. It gave birth to new hope for the poorest people in the region that they too can be entrepreneurs and hence alleviating poverty.

The second problem at hand is unemployment which is closely linked to poverty. Global unemployment statistics are at an alarming rate, moreover concerning youth. Young people who spend several years jobless suffer lifelong consequences. The ILO (International Labour Organization) estimates that the labour force will grow through the addition of young people by a total of about 400 million in the next decade. Availability of jobs are depleting and is ever more challenging due to rise of robotics, automation and artificial intelligence. People also tend to live longer and healthier lives which means they must work longer to support themselves. The radical thought of getting in to a job no longer holds water as the market place gets flooded with job seekers. Therefore, a more viable and more sustainable option is to think oneself as a job creator. “Social Business” supports this idea and provides the necessity for entrepreneurship. There are various partnerships that provide funding for start-ups. Loans are approved based on business ideas that understand community needs and preferences. The microcredit policy is sustainable and financially self-reliant thus creating a cycle which is self-contained.

The third destructive phenomenon which is getting seriously out of hand and threatens to destroy mankind is the degrading state of the environment. Large forests have been decimated to produce wood-based items, heavy industries without proper environmental regulation have caused air and water pollution. Greenhouse effect causes the earth to warm up and melt ice, subsequently raising sea levels. Massive flooding takes place and people need to flee for safety. The goal of zero net carbon was an initiative to reduce these harmful emissions and all forms of pollution to the lowest level possible. The Paris Agreement addresses exactly that and in actual fact should break the old assumption that the environment might suffer when there is economic growth. There are ways and options that prove environmentally friendly outcomes whilst thriving economic conditions. For example, Grameen Shakti in Bangladesh was launched to pioneer renewable energy, supplying solar energies to one million homes. Savco Millers, recycles plastic waste across Uganda into environmentally-friendly products like tree nursery grow bags. These “Social Business” not only solves unemployment and poverty, but they conserve the environment.



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