Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bill Gates on Creative Capitalism

A Creative Capitalist- Social Enterprise at Work

From PBS:

BRAZIL- Fabio Rosa is a charismatic, charming Gaucho -- a guitar-playing cowboy with the energy and vision of a corporate titan who is determined to bring electricity and new farming opportunities to millions of rural Brazilians, allowing them to enjoy sustainable livelihoods while preserving the environment for future generations.

Rosa first came to the Brazilian state of Rio Grande Do Sol in the early 1980s, when much of the rural population lived without electricity because they could not afford the installation costs. He saw that by using a single wire system instead of the ususal three wire he could bring affordable electricity to most the people in the region and create a model for bringing it to all Brazilians and people of other countries. Rosa's first effort in the countryside outside the town of Palmeras was wildly successful — bringing hundreds of families electric powered pumps, refrigerators and lights for the first time in their lives. Rosa spread his idea to thousands of families, and eventually to more than half a million Brazilians.

Recently, in one of Rosa's most unexpected victories, the Brazilian government announced it will use his single wire model to bring electricity to millions of Brazilians.

From How to Change the World by David Bornstein:

When asked why he does the kind of work he does and why he doesn't want to just make a lot of money, Fabio responded:

I am trying to build a little part of the world in which I would like to live. A project only makes sense to me when it proves useful to make people happier and the environment more respected, and when it represents a hope for a better future. This is the soul of my projects.

Looking back, many times I have asked myself exactly the same question- since there are easier things to do. But this has been the only way I feel happy. And I also believe that persistence and coherence are virtues and I like to see that I have them.

Working on the kind of projects I do means to dream with a new world in mind. My projects always renew my faith in an harmonic way of living, without misery. With our intelligence, knowledge and culture, it is not necessary to destroy the environment to build. When people work together they are powerful; there is friendship. In the end, there is peace, harmony, tranquility, optimism.

If there is a deeply human motivation in all of this, it is that my projects are related to practical, doable work. We need to actuate and cause change. Even if the inspiration is romantic, it desires material results, a re-colored reality.

About money- I need money. Money is very important to accomplish my projects. But money only matters if it helps to solve people's problems and to create the world I described above. My projects help people around me to acquire wealth and in some ways this comes back to me.

It has been an intellectual and creative challenge to build models that can be used by excluded and deprived people, to create sustainable livelihoods and promote social inclusion.

Creating projects, implementing them and succeeding, witnessing one's dreams come true, is happiness. Money just makes it easier.

For all these reasons, I work the way I do. I am a slave to my dreams, thoughts and ideas.

That is all.

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