Teaching a man to fish

And teaching men to invest in peace.

There’s a quote circulating the web right now  which arrived from a friend in Africa this morning. It originates from Bill Drayton, CEO of the Ashoka foundation.

“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they revolutionized the fishing industry.  “

How true that is,  considering this other quote, from a development proposal from 2003 which suggests that rather than the foundation funded approach, capitalism can be modified such that business delivers social outcomes directly.  A ‘profit for purpose’ approach to social enterprise.

“There is an old saying: give a man a fish and he can eat for one day. Teach him to fish and he can eat for a lifetime. Giving people enough to live today may be enough for today, but it is not enough for tomorrow. Helping and teaching people to make a living, sustain themselves and their families, is in fact the only long-term solution to the problem of poverty. Further, for the first phase of economic development or economic recovery of any location, it is also possible to create an ongoing source of the critical funding needed to get the job done. Capitalism and market economy comprise the best economic engine ever invented. Assisting poor communities in developing their own markets is now meeting growing acceptance as the best way to go to alleviate poverty. The profit motive, integral to capitalism and market economics, is the driving force for successful economies around the world.”

As I’m reliably informed,    the Hebrew Talmud mentions in several places & Tractates that important as it is to provide charity to the needy, it is far more important & meritorious to actually set someone up in business or help provide a livelihood to further bolster his independence & build his self-esteem.

In his 1996 paper on People-Centered Economic Development the author had pointed out the limitations of program related investment which constrain the way in which foundations  may use their funding , whereas a business with a social purpose, could invest as it’s shareholders agreed and saw fit. In this way,  wealth could be created in impoverished communities and would continue to flow, as it should in business.

The quote above comes from a 2003 strategy proposal which argues the case for developing a peaceful Muslim community and for US government to recognise that those placed in a position which threatens their lives, can be expected to respond.

From :  Creating Shared Value in Ukraine

See also:

Friedman, Shareholder Primacy and Beyond CSR

Post Growth People-Centered local economies

You, Me, We,  Ethics and People-Centered Economics

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