Physics of Poverty
This is a series for YourStory.in, India’s leading comprehensive online platform for entrepreneurs, dedicated to promoting the startup ecosystem.
Social Entrepreneurship is the new buzz word in India and marks a shift in thinking away from non-profit models to market based solutions that can operate at large scale and therefore create social value more systemically.
But what puts the ‘social’ in social entrepreneurship? We all have a notion that it means starting a business that does good for less fortunate folk. So we commonly think of a social entrepreneur as someone who is addressing a low income market with a product that can raise standard of living, either by providing greater opportunity or convenience. However, as I have discovered over the past five years, simply product and market are not sufficient.
Microfinance, for instance, provides a very interesting, and particularly sticky example. The product – basically money – has tremendous potential. Great things have been done with money. You need it … Read More »
Of all the arguments I have heard in support of rapidly scaling microfinance the one I have heard the most is that there is huge demand for money among the poor. Of course there is huge demand. The less you have of it, the more desperately you need it – to tide over the pain and struggle of every day. The next meal, school fees, doctor fees, a pair of shoes, a movie to escape from reality, a drink or two to forget. It’s a painkiller.
When you’re in severe pain, you need a painkiller. What you care about is relieving the pain now. Today. When you are in desperate need of money you don’t have, and it is dangled in front of you, you will take it. But painkillers are insidious.
A friend of mine in the USA once began taking … Read More »