Monday, November 25, 2013

Entrepreneurship, Money and Morals

A somewhat lengthy comment on Mohamed Ali's talk at TED

There is no golden bullet. This sure does not mean that there is no hope in overcoming poverty and "Waithood". Unless people willing to make possitive impact as, Muhamed Ali, Aden and Mohamed Mohamoud, fall to disencouragement, fear and judgeful critisism or violence, there is hope. And it depends on people daring to make positive impact.

Young entrepreneurs sure are such people and I am humbled by Muhamed Ali who found his lever to try and change a small bit of the world for the better. I am even more humbled by Aden and Muhamed Mohamoud who dare starting businesses in Mogadishu. From this talk I think one can understand that even in the face of massive adversities young entrepreneurship can happen and succeed having "social impact". How can anyone think someone starting this can not be aware that his business is not likely to be a golden bullet to fix defunct society, violence or terrorism?

It is not only the talk that has a lot to tell about the human condition but comments on it also. Why is there so much criticism due to bias in the talk and blame that it does not cover all aspects that lead to violence or even terrorism? The talk is clearly moving for many of us. Seems we can't take in how much-needed positive entrepreneurship is, acknowledging that people find the courage to act and just handle our own shame for being born rich.

The main problem sure is not in fearing that someone generates false hope and inspires people to try do something good risking to fail. Entrepreneurship is not easy in rich societies much less in poor ones. The problem is help without motivating entrepreneurs too often fails in being sustainable. Is that because the rich need to keep the poor poor and in "Waithood"? I think it is because being treated is not what humans want. People want to make an impact. That is human nature. Sustainability needs to respect and use that. Gangs, pirates, terrorists they all know or sense that. They from their point of view (twisted as it might be) try to do good too. The question is good to whom and what is the ruleset that will be respected to keep others outside this group from harm.

In my opinion a major problem (i do not believe in one main problem) is what social mechanisms are in place to define and enforce the rules everyone especially entrepreneurs need to comply to. We can't put this pressure on Muhamed Ali or any other entrepreneur and the issue is insanely hard to tackle in general.

Here is what the talk boils down to for me:

Business for good is and needs to be personal because responsibility ultimately is personal and without responsibility adherence to moral standards begins to crumble. It is our duty to watch out for responsible entrepreneurs and try supporting them by various means of actions not the least important of which is try keeping them safe from criminal business in their environment. Money without rules won't do much good. Money with sound rulesets might spike something as complex and intresting as the micro credit movement.

Money needs rules to strengthen morals.

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