The Two Most Productive Hours I Have Ever Spent: Learning from Muhammad Yunus

We are not machines created to make profit, says Muhammad Yunus. We are three-dimensional humans who need much more than financial profits to survive and thrive.
03/31/2008 12:03 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Today was eye-opening to say the least. Muhammad Yunus is in Paris for the French release of his book entitled, Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism...and spending two hours listening and exchanging with this visionary human being gives me more hope than anything or anyone has...in my entire life.

I listened as he finished an interview with a major French magazine...and heard the interviewer ask about the current instability in the world of finance and banking, sub-prime etc...he challenged Yunus to explain how the idea of microcredit could work in the "developed" economies in which rents and real estate cost more...and people would need to borrow many times the amounts microcredit deals with in much of the world.

As I heard Yunus calmly "ohh" and "ahh" as the interviewer spoke...I waited for the response I knew would come. Prof. Yunus replied, matter-of-factly, "But it is the system that is wrong...these banks...they can 'write off' billions in a matter of days yet they cannot loan money to people? Of course they can!"

And he went on to describe how not only is it possible that the system shift, evolve, "change...but that now more than ever people were waking up....including and perhaps especially the bankers and those closest to the financial world, were realizing that it could only ever change..and that if it did not...we were all in trouble.

The definition of what "profit" is and how "capitalism" relates to the human experience...in fact does not allow for nor include all of the human experience. We are not machines created to make profit, says Yunus. We are three-dimensional humans who need much more than financial profits to survive and thrive.

From this idea springs the shift towards the Social Business model which invites all of us to participate in business in a more human way, will the totality of who we are, working towards goals which are more inclusive of all aspects of what it means to be "us."

This is the true and deep future of globalization...a true interconnectedness which means redefining what capitalism does, and how it serves us, the humans who utilize it to create, produce, distribute and enjoy both the wealth, and the products of that same wealth. For what is abundance and "profit" if not the ability to satisfy and meet one's needs and those of our loved ones...and reach out to our fellow humans, and allow them the opportunity to do the same?

Utopia? Perhaps? But why the hell not!?