Sunday, October 15, 2006

Red Gates of Kiev

canteenSo, today is all about business. We were watching "the apprentice" (version Martha Stewart) and the apprentices had to find celebrities for a charities fund-raising event. She said that in business it is very important to give back to the community. Well, I agree with that. Not only big corporations, but also small ones are sometimes involved in so called "charities" or sponsorship of some kind. This takes away the bad image of a big heartless inhuman corporation.

Sometimes, charities do not work so well, when you already have a bad reputation... of course I am talking about the "evil empire" (miscrosoft). Nobody seems to care much if the Bill Gates Foudation does philantropy work... every one remembers only the business bullying... like the time he "bought out" Homer Simpson's internet business. He, he. I think it's best when you have a healthy involment in the community, or a "make money without doing evil" charter right from the start. The Ronald McDonalds House Charities is another example on how charities can help restore the reputation of a big corporation that is constantly under attack.

All this comes to my mind because, this week Bono and Oprah were promoting (RED) products. It's not that they are actually red, although some of them are, like the red iPod. A percentage of the price will go to finance AIDS medicine for people in Africa. Good on ya' Reds!

Yet, the most compelling argument in favour of doing business and helping others along the way is today's announcement of Muhammad Yunus as this year's Nobel Peace Price laureate. the idea of microcredits:
“lasting peace can not be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty. Micro-credit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights. However, unless women are able to express themselves freely to their full the economic and political potential, the growth will not be lasting.”
Fox tried to recreate that idea, but it was Banco Azteca that actually implemented the program in Mexico. Because here in NZ we are in denial of the existing poverty, I doubt the effectivity of microcredits. In fact, I still have my doubts if the Economics MP knows how to do addition and substraction.

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