At the ninth Social Business Day held in Bangkok on June 29, a pioneer of social business Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus has called for harnessing the power of creativity to address social problems. His emphasis, obviously, is on positivism. The champion of social business rejects the idea that younger generation are copycats and emphasises that creativity is inborn. He did not elaborate but expressed his optimism that if their creative energy can be made good use of, social change can be brought about in the true sense of the term. Throughout history, it has been the case that the youths have led the way when there was a crisis facing a society, a nation or even the entire human civilisation. Social stereotypes try to bottle up creative energy because not many dare come out of a secure confine.
It is important that at a time of global business confrontation, Professor Yunus reminds how economics has lost its character as a social science discipline. He aptly remarks that today 'economics explains humans as individuals driven by only self-interest and completely ignores their innate social characteristics'. Indeed market economy is propelled by the idea of the preservation of self-interest as against social well-being of a community or a nation let alone the global population. Creativity - scientific, technological, medical and even art and culture - has made human civilisation what it is today. Inventions have become the common property of human beings, so have the poetry, paintings and other forms. In the same way, economics should not have been discriminatory at all to advance society's material well-being. Unfortunately, this has not happened throughout the history of mankind so far.
Social business proposes to bring some semblance of economic justice for the neglected. But it is still far from reaching the stage where the underprivileged can lead a decent life. Today science and technology have made life easier for many but the poor enjoy little of the benefits on offer. All this can be changed if more egalitarian systems of business can be conceptualised and implemented for the greater good of society. Dr Yunus may have obliquely hinted at such groundbreaking ideas or theories to address the ill society today is heir to. There is a need for a burst of youthful energy - one that will sweep away the old and the discriminatory practices to usher in a new dawn of human civilisation.
The fact that the existing system of education in this country is poorly armed to help nurture inherent creativity in children and then inspire those when they grow up as youths is uncontested. There is a need for reorganising the entire education system in order to bring out the creative power that lies hidden in the young population. Creation of the right environment is what the country needs most now. The obsolete system must be done away with in favour of a pragmatic and forward-looking one suitable for taking up the future challenges.
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