CHANGING THE WORLD
Baby-Boomers really did try to change the world. We tackled the same-old with the tried and true, passed on down to us through the ages: rebellion and protest, dreaming big dreams and making them real, and exploring new directions in spirituality and/or consumerism.
Somehow, even though the world certainly did change, the mess kept morphing in other directions. Changing the world is not such an easy thing to do. Who knew?
Here’s a poem about it from a Baby-Boomer point of view….
CHANGING THE WORLD
Some people seem to think
They need to change
This old World and make it fit
Some vision they are seeing.
If only this, if only that,
If only the Others would, they say,
Then there would be a lovely New World,
All joyousness and love and truth.
It’s odd, though, the way it turns out:
When their vision finally comes to pass,
Out of all their effort and struggle and pain,
Somehow it all turns into the Old again.
Peacemakers take up war;
Rebels turn into tyrants;
Freedom-seekers embrace chains.
Stern laws and unbending rules,
Liars and cheaters make.
Compassion turns to bitter-tasting Charity.
And this old World keeps on turning,
A seething, sweet, and stinking mess,
That keeps right on singing its chaotic heartsong
That always changes, always stays the same.
By Netta Kanoho
NOW COMES A BETTER WAY
Jason Haber, in his book, THE BUSINESS OF GOOD: Social Entrepreneurship and the New Bottom Line, details the rise of Social Entrepreneurship, a way of doing business that combines an entrepreneurial foundation plus the very real desire to make a difference and wrapping it all up in sound, sustainable business practice.
There is hope as well that these businesses will promote real change.
The biggest difference between plain vanilla entrepreneurship and the “social” variety is that one of the top priorities for the social entrepreneur is doing work that makes the world we live in a better place.
Attention to business sustainability and growth is paramount, but in social entrepreneurship this is balanced by a mission to work towards mitigating gnarly social problems. One of the strategies that seems particularly effective for working towards change is connecting with people and helping them change their lives by themselves.
Below are two social entrepreneurs whose work was included in Haber’s book and one that was not.
BANKER TO THE POOR
This YouTube video by Infinite Fire is a brief documentary, a quick overview of Nobel Prize winning social entrepreneur Muhammas Yunus who invented the idea of micro-finance to help combat global poverty. He started the Grameen bank.
In his book, BANKER TO THE POOR, Yunus points out, “Charity becomes a way to shrug off our responsibility. Charity is no solution to poverty. Charity allows us to go ahead with our own lives without worrying about those of the poor. It appeases our consciences.”
Jason Haber points out that more than 7 million borrowers rely on Grameen Bank. Of those, 97 percent are women. The average loan balance per borrower is approximately $162. The gross loan portolio of the bank is in excess of $1.1 billion.
In a typical year, the default rate on the Grameen Bank loans is 2 percent. This is very different from loan default rates in developed countries: 11 percent for student loans, 6.5 percent for mortgages, and slightly under 3 percent for credit cards.
Another program for good reviewed in Haber’s book is Gerald Chertavian’s Year UP program. This program gives inner-city young people the chance to develop skills that make them employable. In the following video Chertavian talks about how the program began.
The program, which was founded in Boston and has since spread to other cities all over the United States, gives inner-city young people the chance to develop skills that make them employable.
(Click the button for a map of the locations of the Year Up program.)
Chertavian’s book, A YEAR UP, describes the program. New enrollees in the Year Up program range in age from 18 to 24. They sign a contract that tells them what’s expected of them. They earn a daily stipend while they participate in the program but they don’t pay any tuition. (The funds that maintain the program come from the fees Year Up charges to corporations and companies for well-trained interns.)
The students’ Year Up is split between 5 months in a classroom environment learning personal and professional skills and six months in a full-time internship program.
Eighty-five percent of the Year Up graduates are in school or have a job within four months of graduation, Haber says. They earn an average of $32,000 a year for full-time employees and $16 per hour for part-time work.
Even during the Great Recession, Year Up students were succeeding, earning 30 percent more than those outside the program.
This video, Year Up Journeys, tells the stories of three young people who participated in the program.
ENTREPRENEURIAL THINKING = WORLD CHANGE
Here’s one other program that sounds particularly interesting. It is not featured in Haber’s book.
Jeremy Liddle is Director of Entrepreneurship at The Enterprise Network for Young Australians, a not-for-profit organization established in 2002. It is described as being “run by young people for young people.” The organization has the vision that Australia will lead the world in innovation, and that every person will understand that starting their own business is an immediate and viable career choice.
Liddle believes that entrepreneurial thinking can change the world. His passion is focused on creating a world of job creators, people who are in control of their own financial destiny.
The following TedX talk was given by Jeremy Liddle at Macquariel University in Sydney, Australia in 2013.
The social entrepreneurship movement continues to grow. It seems like that is a very good thing.
Picture credit: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far go together” by J. Mark Dodds via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
SOME OTHER POSTS TO CONSIDER
(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you…)
Thanks for your visit. I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.
14 thoughts on “CHANGING THE WORLD”
I came across your site and your article on Changing the World caught my attention and in particular Gerald Chertavian. It shows what one entrepreneur can do to change the lives of so many young people with his vision. His program Year Up helped so many develop skills to put them in jobs. 85% success rate is quite impressive! Do you know anyone that took place in the program?
Hey Sherry: Thanks for your visit and your comments. I live in Hawaii and we surely could use the program here. Unfortunately it hasn’t reached us yet.
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Loved your poem about “changing the World.”
I think the biggest problem we all face is our exploding population growths all across the Globe. As a baby boomer myself, it’s not entirely up to us and the responsibility of thinking about feeding, clothing, and housing future generations should also fall upon the young to decide.
Thanks for the visit and the comments. You’re right. Population grows and grows. And, of course, it will fall on the young to continue trying to change the world. Perhaps they will be able to create a new and better reality. This old world is, after all, our learning planet.
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In a world of niche websites glutted with advertising (I’m guilty of too many affiliate ads on my own site) comes a gentle baby boomer named Netta, who seems to have this silly idea that she might somehow change the world. With her poetry.
I love this site. I love this page. I love your poetry. And I watched all of the videos. Thank you for introducing us to a world of people who in their own ways are changing the world for the better. Jason Haber, Muhammad Yunus, Gerald Chertavian, Alexis, Miles and Yessica, and Jeremy Liddle. All of their stories serve to restore our faith in mankind.
As a baby boomer myself, born in 1952, spiritual, but not religious, I can relate to so much of what you have posted on this page. I hope to see this site grow and be nurtured – and I’ll return to explore more of your writing, art and music in the near future
Thank you, Hal for your visit and your comments. I am not sure where all of this is going, but I do know I like doing it. Please do come again….
I absolutely love the poem by Netta Kanoho.
I think it speaks volumes about how people want the world to change, but no one can really agree on which direction to move towards together.
Some people want more freedom, some want more rules, some want easier access to money, some want better security so they don’t have to share their money.
There’s so many factors involved in what shaped the world into what it is now, it might take years to get society into a state of abundant happiness, but that’s just my pessimism speaking.
I’m sure with all the new ways people are working to make a living, more people can find ways to achieve their dreams and eventually change the world for the better.
Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts. I don’t think you’re being a pessimist when you point out that the world is an amalgam of everybody’s wants and needs and the result of everybody just living as best they can within their own circumstances. It’s just a realistic view. We’ve come a long way and we still have a long way to go. It’s all good….
I’m glad you liked my poem. That makes my day….
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I really enjoyed your article and found it very informative. I really agreed with what Yunus said about charity and poverty.
It’s nice to know that there are programs out there that are trying to help kids think in an entrepreneurial way. I’d struggled in the corporate world for quite a long time before I was fed up enough to start my own business and try to find a way out (which I’m still working on). I believe that in this day and age if you have the will and the determination, there’s nothing stopping you from being an entrepreneur and running your own business.
Stormy, thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.
I do agree with you that the programs that aim at teaching youngsters to develop an entrepreneurial mindset are a blessing. Many youngsters don’t have role models or older people who are business owners themselves and consequently they do not see that as a role they can do (instead of the same-old dead-end minion stuff).
Congratulations on making your own run. That’s cool!
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Your poem has quite a bit of meaning; I reread it a couple of times. As a fellow baby-boomer, I can relate to so much of what you said. In some ways, the problem might be magnified by the fact that we each have our own uniqueness. But then, that also is what makes the world so interesting!
I do believe that the social entrepreneurship as you mentioned might be one way to make a huge difference in our world. Perhaps they will pave the way to a new lifestyle entirely. My concern with our current trends is that they seem to revolve around social media and the self-serving ideas it often (not always) perpetuates. But then, maybe using social media to promote the social entrepreneurship programs will make a bold statement.
Thanks for bringing this to the attention of your readers who will hopefully pass the information on. I will be among them!
Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Diane.
I do agree that there are as many ways to help make things better as there are people in the world. It’s the best thing!
I understand your misgivings about our current fascination with social media. It is one more way we’ve developed to connect with each other, I think.
My own feeling is that social media is just one more tool for our toolbox. How we use it is up to us. Thank you for your comments.
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Really interesting approach regarding generations. Not everyone has this in consideration, and your poem gives the chance to people to take a glance to what a new generation is feeling and thinking.
Making the difference is something everyone wants, but knowing how to do it is something else. Each word in the poem has the power and intention to mark this.
That’s an intriguing take on the post, Johnny. It made me look at the poem again and see it in a new way. Thank you!
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