Social Enterprise
Traditional businesses measure their success by profit and how much they can bring shareholders. Social enterprises have multiple bottoms lines: profit, people and planet. Profit is important in sustaining a business, but the idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is gaining in popularity. Consumers educate themselves on products which leads businesses into action. Focusing on multiple areas of business (triple bottom line) is the crucially important reason why social enterprise works.

The Traditional Standard: Profit

Profit is an excellent measure of growth and is quantifiable. A business that has a surplus by the end of the year means bills were paid and employees provided for. It doesn’t hurt that investors or shareholders see a return on their money. If there is profit, that means the company is an asset to the economy; this then means more customers, more employees and more investors overall. This business detail remains a critical factor in why social enterprise works.

The Growing Standard: People

People want to be happy, and as most of a person’s waking hours are spent at work, these two aspects of life are thereby deeply intertwined. It’s becoming common knowledge that a happier employee means a more productive workplace. An employee who feels empowered and enjoys what they do generally equates to higher productivity and profitability.

Success with people can lead to 65 percent in higher share prices and 100 percent more job applications for the company.

The Growing Concern: Planet

Consumer understanding of the planet’s dwindling resources are slowly impacting their buying habits. There hasn’t been a huge move towards green living, but some like social enterprises make this a priority along with profit and people. A new awareness day, Overshoot Day, marks the calendar for when humanity has used up Earth’s resources for that year.

From 2000 to 2017, Overshoot Day crept up from late September to early August, almost by two months. Social enterprises have noticed this trend and are now making moves to change it through sustainable resources.

A Moral Solution: Changing the Trajectory for an At-Risk Individual

Many businesses might choose a social entrepreneurial path because there is an issue the organization wants to address. At the heart of freedom businesses (a subgroup of social enterprises) is the goal to hire at-risk individuals. Some businesses like Purnaa, a manufacturing business in Nepal, were inspired to create opportunities for marginalized people and survivors of exploitation. Others like Papillion Enterprise, an Artisan shop in Haiti, wanted to prevent orphans through job creation.

Using Resources to Continue the Process

A difficult move for many small social enterprises is growth, particularly in some countries outside of the U.S. There might not be property to mortgage against or the interest rate would kill the purpose. Some social enterprises — like Kairos Trader — use profits and fundraising to provide 0 percent loans to social enterprises. As business grows and money is repaid, the loan can then be cycled into another loan to help social enterprises start or step up.

Economic Growth: The Ripple Effect

This list would not be complete without mentioning social enterprises’ impact on economic growth– freedom businesses’ commitment to marginalised people and the Earth is why much of its social enterprise works.

Communities that may have been jobless or ostracised now have opportunities. Those with jobs are able to educate their children and become consumers which grows consumerism on a generational scale building the economy with it.

According to Matt Peterson, founder of Kairos Traders, every sector is needed to make a change for people and planet, but business offers a unique solution. It can seem counterintuitive to have a triple bottom line, but success is proving why social enterprise works.

Profit is needed to be able to grow and provide jobs and materials, but a business that bases its impact on community and planet is a more holistic approach that will bear more fruitful results.

– Natasha Komen

Photo: Flickr

Four major socioeconomic factors correlate significantly with the cultivation of extremism in developing nations: youth unemployment, militarization, levels of criminality, access to weapons and corruption.

These factors strengthen the four drivers of radicalization that arise in developed countries: historic conflict, corruption, acceptance of human rights and the marginalization of groups.

Two major categories of socioeconomic conditions that lead to extremism include relative deprivation and general corruption. These ideas largely capture the four elements that are common among both developing and developed nations where radicalization is most common.

Relative Deprivation
Relative deprivation is the discrepancy between individuals’ expectations of justice and the state and an opposing reality and is a precursor to radicalization.

Kartika Bhatia and Hafez Ghanem argue that unemployment and underemployment can increase the likelihood of violent extremism, explaining the positive relationship between relative deprivation and radicalization. Furthermore, those with secondary educations who are unemployed or underemployed have the highest risk of becoming radicalized.

The Global Terrorism Index discloses that those who move to Syria to become an ISIL foreign fighter experience relative deprivation in that they typically have high educations but low incomes.

Corruption
According to the Global Terrorism Index, acts of terror between 1989 and 2014, “93 percent of all terrorist attacks occurred in countries with state-sponsored terror including extra-judicial deaths, torture and imprisonment without trial” versus only 0.5 percent of countries not experiencing political terror suffering from internal terrorist acts.

Poor socioeconomic conditions like widespread poverty can lead to political instability that reinforces antidemocratic values and the disenfranchisement of citizens. This reciprocal relationship between poor socioeconomic circumstances and corruption negatively influence one another, both factors swelling each other’s occurrence.

The report also notes that “when group grievances against the state are high, and the opportunity cost of joining a rebellion is low, groups are most likely to form”.

Today and the Future
Despite it all, there is good news. In 2016, the number of terrorist attacks and deaths from the attacks have both declined by 10 percent.

A decrease in the number of instances is significant and certainly good news. But getting to the root of what is causing radicalization is the best strategy to ameliorate the socioeconomic conditions that lead to extremism in general.

The creation of anti-corruption measures is being enforced globally. The United Nations Convention Against Corruption recognizes the destructive effects that corruption has on citizens. Postulating corruption as a global issue, the convention proposes a set of regulations that fights to eliminate corruption both before and after it occurs.

Matthew Murray, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, takes the position that freedom from official corruption is a human right and international law should reflect that.

The legal advocacy of recognizing corruption as a crime against human rights is a fundamental step toward global initiatives that will combat corruption preying on vulnerable nations.

Sloan Bousselaire

Photo: Flickr

Magsaysay AwardThe Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s premier prize and honor similar to a Nobel Prize, was given this year to two Indian social rights advocates. Recipients Bezwada Wilson and Thodur Madabusi Krishna were recognized for their dedication to advocacy for the poorest citizens in India.

Wilson received the award for organizing a grass-roots movement to end the demeaning work of manual scavenging, the practice of removing and disposing of excrement from dry latrines. The work, which usually falls to women and girls of the Dalit caste for little pay, was banned in 1993. Regardless, 180,000 households still service 790,000 public and private latrines.

Wilson was born into a manual scavenging family and was the first in his family to pursue higher education. His organization, Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA), has helped to liberate over 300,000 of the estimated 600,000 manual scavengers in India. SKA keeps self-emancipation at the core of its mission, and the Magsaysay Award Foundation recognized his “moral energy and prodigious skill in leading a grassroots movement to eradicate the degrading servitude.”

Krishna was born into a more affluent Brahmin family and trained in the classical Carnatic music style from the age of 6. Realizing Carnatic music was needlessly reserved for only the Brahmin class, Krishna set out to create a more inclusive music culture in India. He spread Carnatic music by playing in public schools and venues that had never seen a classical Carnatic musician before.

Krishna has familiarized himself with the whole of India’s music culture and is working to make all aspects, from Dalit music tradition to Carnatic music, more open and democratic. He has developed the first Carnatic music curriculum to bring to communities that would otherwise have very little exposure. He has worked to bring divided communities together through music and is being recognized for his advocacy and resolve to share his passion with others.

The Magsaysay Award Foundation has recognized these two men for their dedication to helping others overcome social obstacles. Even after a restrictive social hierarchy is officially abolished, lingering cultural practices make social mobility and freedom difficult for many. It is only with the hard work of people like Wilson, Krishna, members of SKA, children open to learning new music and culture and others like them that change can occur.

Lia Jean Ferguson

Photo: Flickr

avenues of communicationRosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bill Gates all started their own movements to create social change. Without their influential work, the face of society would have a different set of rules. Truly, the world would be unrecognizable. During a time before the invention of the Internet, these influential thinkers had to convince society and the government that their way of thinking should be the norm.

This sounds easier than it appears, but when one person stands up for their beliefs, many people agree and follow. Because of rallies, speeches and protests, the government listened to the people and took action. Thanks to the Internet, there are now more avenues of communication than ever before in human history. Now, people can start a social movement with a simple stroke of the keyboard.

A website called Change.org has changed the lives and social construct of people around the world. Founded in 2007, Change.org connects people across geographical and cultural borders to support causes people to care about and want justice. What makes the organization so successful and popular is that anyone can start a petition, and with the link, people with access to the Internet can electronically sign the particular petition. As of today, Change.org created a platform that has launched 14,707 victories in 196 countries. And nearly every hour, a petition on Change.org achieves victory. Every hour, a petition’s victory could be one step closer to strengthening global education or solving global poverty.

As people around the world continue to connect through the Internet, social media has become a platform to start or raise awareness for social change, especially through hashtags. Using a hashtag can spark a connection and prompt people to learn more about a particular movement. Through celebrity influence, more awareness is also raised if celebrities who support the cause tweet or post the hashtag. This method brings fans together to help the cause.

With so many avenues of communication, social change is possible and can be accomplished because anyone can create change. Through sheer determination, a social movement can end with social change.

Alexandra Korman

Sources: Change, Chase, Forbes
Photo: Change