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Yunus- how usaid and academics compound ultra poverty
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Having worked all my life on big concepts (eg ones ad agencies were spending billion dollars on) and their global brand reality (see millennium triple special issue journal of marketing management ) I can say that Muhammad Yunus came up with the biggest concepts I have heard of. #Poortech is one below  So here’s  Yunus Big 10 – not in any particular order. I would love to know if you have news on what happened to them

............................................................................................................................................................................................................May I begin by saying that I feel very privileged to have met or accompanied Dr Yunus about 30 times between 2007 and 2013; and the interpretations (any errors) in this report are mine alone

When I first met Yunus late 2007, he was completing a relaunch of his signature body of knowhow as social business. He had decided that microcredit was both too narrow (financial) in attracting young followers he wished to target worldwide and that microcredit was going to be unstoppably greenwashed by big or bad banking. Within a month of meeting him he was answering this 9 year old's question at his book launch in New York - to be so prescient in jan 2008 about subprime was truly Yunus as his most globally urgent, and you might have hoped socially actionable.   


When i first visited Mirpur in 2007, Yunus was still accompanied by the 2 students (Mrs Begum and Mr Barua) and one fellow professor (Latifee)

 who had founded and directed Grameen from its start as a project taking students out of the calssroom to real villages where a million people (mainly girls had just died of famine in Bangladesh of 1984).  These were the peoples who had demonstrated two of the first leapfroging advances in the world due to Industrial Revolution 3 : the coming universal access of text mobile phones- what happens when a society that had never had access to wired telecoms nor electricity grids leaps ahead to pioneer most life critical advances )  

Nonetheless every interviewee I met repeated 2 very human things before clarifying the extraordinary range of markets Yunus was now aiming to publlcise the future purpose of capitalism around.

1 always ask whether this systemic solution is reaching to the very poorest- anything you do in development will always look most successful if you focus one or more rungs up from the very poorest (the very poorest are hardest to reach unless you live with them, when helping them market their transactions are the smallest and collecting their inputs will logistically cost the most in far away rural ares- remember these are people  historically: off electricity grids, with no phones, no running water or sewearge, most likely reachable by a mud track and rickshaw. Note to self- wow leapfroging models offer economic miracles of a suddenness the world has never seen before - (and of bloth a cfreative destruction and human value that cant be assesed by macroeconomic metrics ley alone be developed exponentially unless you had experienced living in the prior-poverty trapped space (eg of having no electricity)

2  Grameen never hires top people from outside- everyone including us (well except 2 professors) were hired as graduating students or below  

click pic to download first issue free mailed to 3000 leaders chosen by dr yunus.


click pic below to download special issue celebrating 15 years of microcreditsummit sampled to 2500 delegates of world summit spain 2011


 The chances of top-down organisations from USA reaching the ultra poorest are therefore below zero unless they trust to partnering a bottom up network- and they would be wise to demand that network is the most collaborative  (trying to cause competition between bottom-up networks will again riosk hurting the ultra poorest most)

Now you can see why  top down organisation like usaid is at extreme disadvantage in reaching ultra-poorest especially as its used to semi-permanently subcontracting thousands of peope from a handful of dc-headquartered organisations in projects time-chained by adminstration 4-year cycles.  It would require usaid to want to build one long-term bottom-up partnership not series of tenders. Moreover US academics get their funding from top down foundations- they have no incentive to research or (even search) let alone teach how revolutionary bottom-up grassroots networking with the poorest can be.

Now although i first came to DC in mid 1990s, top-down advocacy organisations are not a model i would expect to apply my family's  3 billion new jobs genre of Entrepreneurial Revolution (begun 1972 @ The Economist) .


online library of norman macrae--

However meetings with Yunus inspired me to doublecheck academic curricula of microcredit in over 30 top schools around usa- none remotely modelled how Bangladesh empowered the world's poorest mothers and girls to build 100+ person nation out of next to nothing when this country finaly gained independence from what had been its West Pakistan Ruler after the partitioning of the Indian Continent. (For transparency: I should note my maternal grandfather Sir Kenneth Kemp was UK's chief justice mediator with Mahatma Gandhi for 25 years and his last job was writing up India's Independence. Neither Gandhi nor Grandad had favored partitioning but by the end of world war 2 a bankrupt (if morally heroic) Britain did not feel in any position to negotiate with the Aga Khan who was adamant that 2 Muslim Pakistans (West and East) should be separated from India.

As a Diaspora Scot, one of the curious dynamics that seems to serve my worldwide compatriots well is not making any hurried cultural assumptions about any locality we are privileged to interact with. Trying to observe from scracch, and whenever I have been involved in a social inovation project i have always asked to be shown the poorest groups  intended to be served. So I am a believer that we will not achieve any of the sustainabiluty goals unless Preferential Option Poor mapmaking is transparent wherever one country claims to want to do good in developing another country. I am also not happy with the very tenets of international aid organsiations that dont include youthful staff as vital to our entrepreneurial revolution era; I am even less impressed by lack of any local spaces to rehearse youthful development expertise. It is not as if Washington DC doesnt have any Ultra development challenges in regions half an hours drive from the white house or the world bank or the usaid or the Organisation of American States.

Being pretty ignorant of the western political history of aid, I wasnt aware that the models that I first visied in Bangaldesh were the outcome of dialogues across latin america of teh late 1960s. Apparently while rich northern neighbors were racing to the moon, south americans (many without elctricity grids) clarified the Ultra Poor Model - known as POP - Preferential Option Poor. This side of catching up with world development history came about for me when Jim Kim was suddenly appointed head of the world bank. In his younger days he had tried to end the world bank's top down isolatiuon while spending 25 years practising POP models - Parters in Health. I find these 4 Jim Kim clarifications hugely valuable- 1 2 3 4 would love your feedback #BAtech WashDC text 2403168157

All may not be lost for the millennails generation. In China the memory of over 40 milion people dying of famine in the 1960s is still one lived with by elders such as those of Trump's age. I am pretty sure that when CHina budgets for an ultra poor program- at home or away - that is what is relentlessly worked on. Greenwashing such a process would be regarded as an abuse of National character. In any event Youth shoiuld use G20 opportunities such as G20 Argentina 2018 and G20 India 2019 to track POORtech and sustainabilityTECH. Bon Courage to all -next giog April 6.7 Florida 

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tv affiliates: - nominate 200 trusted collaboration entrepreneurs; -SBE stockmarket is possible?;; Satyagraha


Please note: our editors loves to hear of nominations for other individuals who merit being in the same hall of change fame and potential WCBN support as those above

Other curiosities: : google ad


There are 4 future history endings to the 21st C. As my daughter is 9 year old: I find the first three of these compound futures utterly unacceptable and invite you to mail me at if you do too:

Dinosaur: means the whole human species will be as dead as the dodo. Tell us who's "death of birth" story interests you most. I'm a fan of Chairman Ray Anderson, and this video. In it, he explains not only how all corporations -as key systems in  productive and demanding networks of human relationships - can help humanity prevent the "dinosaur ending" but also how those corporations who value human life will compound the most profits too. It's a myth that sustainability business investments don't do well by doing good. But what is required is consistent investment through time as all entreprenurial and economic systems are intended be, not exercises in how much can you reap or rape from the world every last quarter. All the true economists have mapped how healthy societies beget strong economies, NOT  vice versa.

Shark: means that there will be a world of less than a billion people, most enslaved to the greediest and nastiest men. It is not for nothing that the Spectre villains in James Bond films kept pet sharks. Sharks sense how to make a human or financial killing at many miles - they literally are the best at smelling blood as well as having  blood-thirsty greeds. I am by no means claiming that most large organisational boardrooms are populated by sharks. But as a mathematician and investigator of Unseen Wealth research I am weary of hearing over 20 years of protests that we are ignorant of the system law : if  leadership only optimises how much money speculators take out from the last quarter's spreadsheet,  the organisation's  purpose will be full of holes than a pantomime dame's leaking bucket. Worse over time what you exclude from governing a system is what you compound the destruction of. That's why any boardroom who does not want to see its business case transparently audited for sustainability henceforth swims with the sharks or is blinded by butterflies.

Butterflies tell the wrong stories about system or network models of how to map the whole before getting boxed into parts. Butterflies making system patterns sound complex or chaotic beyond human wit. Inconveniently, this gives the manager the perfect excuse to say that sytsem transformation cannot be succesful.  Their end consequence is also likely to end with less than a million beings living, but this time survivors wll all be back in the cave age.  As the world gets more interconnected, what we need to map is exactly how do get interconnected in each other's most vital compound risks or joys. We do need to prevent the next HIV from spreading virally beyond early cases especially if it is transmitted by contagious birds. Grassroots in frastructures needed little more than a primitive mobile telephone network around Tsunami coastlines to prevent deaths of thos who were 5 hours away from the wave even if those nearest the wave's origin could not have ben alerted. We need to reduce online degrees of separation to zero when the information to be passed through us humans is life critical in its flows. Conversely, there are many types of active learning that multiply value in use instead of gettin g consumed up the way in dustrial things always were. The two great untruths told by the butterfly brigade:

1) that there is one primary way of thinking or doing systems- by definition systemic approaches interface and integrate around molecular subsystems; one simple consequence of this organsiationally is a lot more interdisciplinary flows are needed for the  service economy  organsiational system to wholly empower trust and other entrepreneurial energies

2) that my life -or yours - will be impacted on the other side of the world by a butterfly flapping its wing. This ludicrous insult to logic should not however lead anyone to believe that we can lose all the world's rainforests and expect climate equilibrium to be sustained.

Lion-Child - and I would delight in hearing of other identifications, since this is the truly important story of the four and merits every type of cross-cultural rendering you all can imagine - is about the collaboration characters we will need to flourish if 6+ billion humans are to thrive. Quite a simple thing to achieve if we are as truly curious as a child, as courageous as a lioness in protecting her young, and cherish the pride in community wellbeing as much as lions do.


Ideas for 24 Goals for the 24 Days PowWow on will humanity invest in Sustainability in Time

I gather that some goals gave already been decided. Numbers do not denote order:
Activity Goals
G1 Plant 24 intercity hubs around the world using Islington hub and espian plex tools as  strawman infrastructure for local adaptation
G2 Demand that London's Mayor etc open up sufficient spaces in public building for 90 day summer debate of sustainability issues
G3 Develop a map of all hubs and learning houses - ie to include the 24 homegrown ones, and others out there eg Brazil has at least two
London has the house  
G4 Get the 24 hubs to start editing their own crisis learning travel guide that Sofia is producing 2007 version of which incidentally will include a start up map of hubs; other contents in this include Harrison Owen Open Space for children; Gandhi family debriefings from the world's largest school and 1 million oneworld alumni; challenges of starting up CIDA's free university
G5 How can we go beyond the learning guide to a meeting  format trialled by London and for replication in any city Learning500 (see mail of sat feb 3 addendum Sunita Gandhi)
G6 invite 24 days participants to nominate 15 entries of book of the 200 most trusted collaboration entrepreneurs of 2008 , with particular foci on the 7 sustainability crises which become irreversible if they're not turning round by 2012 see pic attached
G7 The top 4 outcome crises in the picture are a direct match with Larry Brilliant’s 4 main goals for progressing the work of - how do we establish b ridges with that - he states these goals at this video minute 14
G8 How do we mobilise all new economists and sustainability investors around the empowerment development economics revolution Sir Nick Stern is leading which from May will be out of the London School of Economics- what London student networks already exist to interact positively with Sir Nick; how can we unite oxbridge and Indian alumni too (since eg Sir Nick's curricula is parallel to that Manmohan Singh has been pioneering since his Cambridge days in the 1950s and blends with the Entrepreneurial Revolution trilogy of my father). How do we ensure that the debate on how to spend 1% of economies to save 20% does not get greenwashed by all the old vested interests; the worst scenario being that the 1% is wholly wasted while an image of saving the climate lulls us into false security
G9 How could we outline the definitive entrepreneurial, peace network (open systems , biomass) curricula that all new age universities and serve the world alumni need (eg blend this with the Sir Richard Branson entrepreneur school at Cida, the India alumni of city Montessori etc)    
G10 How do we popularise the 4 end states of sustainability - eg Dinosaur (death of birth), Shark (1 million enslaved by a few James Bond Spectre Villains), Butterfly probably 1 million cavemen through  telling system stories the wrong way (I'll never be impacted by a butterfly's wing but could from nuclear wave or terror wave or birdflu or Greenland unhinging) , LionChild (or whatever is your identity) of 6+ billion people collaborating around a higher order system of sustainability which fairly integrates every locality into globalisation. How do we own the vocabulary so that these 4 identities become part of worldwide chat.
G11 How do we identify journalist for humanity who care about at least one of the 7 above crises as reaching irreversibility by 2012 if we don’t fix them now
G12 How do we start developing supporters clubs around collaboration entrepreneurs connecting eg all the best ideas that Yunus is using - - a British pop-spokesgroup for Grameen; the microcreditsummit as one of the top 10 world citizen meeting formats; the extension of microcredit as the perfect concept to clean up the banking market into other concepts designed to partner trillion dollar global markets until they stop externalising destruction of each market's deepest human purpose (see trillion dollar audit game - left an early copy with you, otherwise it will emerge at and is backed up by the earlier book Alan was writing with me)