By Robin Gomes
Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi economist who pioneered the concept of microcredit and microfinance and founded the Grameen Bank for the poor, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his efforts in alleviating poverty.
"A World of Three Zeroes" - possible?
He is currently in Italy visiting Turin, Milan and Rome to talk about his 2017 book entitled, “A World of Three Zeroes: the new economics of zero poverty, zero unemployment, and zero net carbon emissions.”
Vatican News called Yunus on the phone and asked him whether “A World of Three Zeroes” can truly be achieved.
Yunus is convinced that a world of zero poverty, zero unemployment, and zero carbon emissions is very much possible. He says the United Nations and the world’s nations are working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 global economic and social targets set by the UN to be reached by 2030. One of the goals of the SDGs aims at zero poverty.
Yunus notes that though the SDGs don’t talk about zero carbon emissions, there is a general awareness for improvement of the environment. But the economist is insisting that we should reach zero net carbon emissions by 2040 or 2050.
The MDGs do talk about reducing unemployment but does not explicitly talk about zero unemployment which is one of the issues of Yunus in his book.
Unemployment created by capitalism
He says that the whole problem of unemployment is created by the capitalist concept of employment, which assumes that every human being has to work for somebody else – i.e. salaried and employed.
Yunus totally disagrees with this concept. According to him, human beings are not born to work for someone else. Each person is endowed with a store of unlimited creative capacity, and when one works for someone else, this creative capacity is destroyed.
Hence the real direction is to become an entrepreneur. This is why Yunus talks about redesigning the whole capitalist system in a ways to get out of the problems affecting us.