Skip to content Skip to navigation

Dreaming of a new world with three zeros

Can we imagine a world of zero poverty, zero unemployment, and zero carbon emissions with a new approach in post-corona economics! Ask Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and he will answer in the affirmative. The university professor turned revolutionary banker believes that the human race should not only dream about a safer world by reducing global warming, wealth concentration and unemployment, but also work in that direction with personal and collective capacities.

In his latest book titled ‘A World of Three Zeros’, Prof Yunus proposes a new economic system focusing on every human being as an entrepreneur in the making. He believes that humans are not born to work only for someone else, but they possess unlimited creative energy to sustain themselves if proper patronages are accorded in a dignified manner. Once a human being is encouraged to get appointed under the conventional economic arrangement, his/her creativity is thoroughly destroyed.

Once a teacher at Chittagong University, Prof Yunus pioneered the concept of microcredit & microfinance and later founded a bank with all differences in 1983, where many usual policies were challenged. Dedicated to the poor, mostly women, Grameen Bank of Bangladesh offers loans with no collateral and even enjoys a nearly 100% recovery rate. The unique bank directs its employees to go to the people and unlike conventional banks, it encourages women borrowers to own shares.

Prof Yunus treated borrowers as the real owners of the bank and himself as an employee. The new-found bank, with all its successful parameters, drew the attention of world intellectuals and finally the creator and Grameen were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for extraordinary efforts to alleviate poverty in Bangladesh. He is also honoured with several high-profile international awards like Gandhi Peace Prize, United States’ Presidential Medal of Freedom, Karl Kübel Prize, etc. His book titled ‘Banker to the Poor’ narrates his sour & sweet experiences and also elaborates his idea of banking with benefits to the society.

Prof Yunus recently graced the first Bodoland International Knowledge Festival held in Kokrajhar (administrative headquarters of Bodoland Autonomous Region), where he emphasized on empowering women by turning them into entrepreneurs. Citing the example of 10 million Grameen women borrowers, he commented that if they could become entrepreneurs, then anybody can emerge as an entrepreneur (if she/he is not compelled to be a job seeker). The focus of any government should be to create entrepreneurs, not job holders, he asserted.

Organised by Bodoland University with active support from the Bodoland Territorial Region government, the knowledge festival (27 February to 2 March 2023) focused on implementing sustainable development goals 2030 in BTR and the world at large. Various issues, deliberated and discussed in the festival, included science & technology, indigenous knowledge systems, women empowerment, child rights & protection, peacebuilding, good governance, communication & media, behavioural change & communication, human rights, sustainable agriculture, climate justice & action, quality education, health & wellbeing, art & culture, youth entrepreneurship, intellectual property rights, trade-commerce-investment in BTR, etc.

The festival was also addressed by BTC chief Pramod Boro, Bhutanese diplomat Jigme Thinlye Namgyl, philanthropist Padmashri SB Dholakia, creative engineer Sonam Wangchuk, popular film personalities Vivek Oberoi & Sonu Sood, Assam assembly speaker Biswajit Daimary, State minister UG Brahma with a number of vice-chancellors of universities. More than 300 invited delegates from across India and 35 international delegates from 14 countries are participating in the festival, where 10,000 students, academicians, researchers, development practitioners, government officials, politicians, entrepreneurs, farmers, SHG members were present as participants.

Besides addressing the knowledge festival, Prof Yunus also spoke at Bodoland College and Bodoland University. Later he addressed the students and teachers of  Rongia College and Gauhati University. Prof Yunus had an intensive exchange of thoughts on education with the vice chancellors from ten Assam-based universities in a special session. Prior to his departure to Dhaka, I had an opportunity to meet the soft-spoken, simple and smiling gentleman, who gave me a signed copy of ‘A World of Three Zeros’. As usual we had a long chat on a variety of issues including his invention of social business, a financial exercise where the goal is assumed not to maximize the monetary profit but to do something good for society.

Many may doubt the sustainability of such a business, but Prof Yunus argues that all people have two dimensions in them, selfishness and selflessness.  In each person both selfishness and selflessness exist in varying ratios. Selfless side is not recognized within framework of the business theory. It is left to charity.

Prof Yunus included this dimension of human beings in the business theory by adding the concept of social business, defined as a non-dividend business dedicated to solving social problems in a sustainable way. That becomes the big door for creativity of human beings to address all human problems in a sustainable business way. He agreed the mainstream media should (could) have been a social business where it is not run for maximizing personal profit. As a social business the net profit of a media house should be ploughed back into the business to achieve the goal of the media to keep the public informed without fear or favour or desire to enrich the owners.

Author info

Nava Thakuria's picture

Senior journalist based in Guwahati.

Add new comment

Random Stories

Himanta Biswa Sarma acts against striking employees in AMC

5 Jul 2007 - 8:31am | editor
Dibrugarh: In a significant step, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has ordered that wages should be deducted for the month of June for Grade IV employees who went on a strike on June 8, 9...

Sivasagar blast muffles public rally by pro talk ULFA

21 Sep 2008 - 3:30pm | editor
Despite the blast that rocked Sivasagar town on Saturday evening, the pro talk ULFA faction is holding a public rally for restoration of peace and normalcy in the town on Sunday. But amid tight...

Land pattas tomorrow

23 Feb 2014 - 2:07pm | AT News
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is scheduled to distribute land pattas to 500 families on Monday.Officials told Assam Times that Gogoi will hand over the land pattas at a function at Sankardev Kalakhetra...

Ensure due oil royalty: Gogoi to Reddy

13 Sep 2011 - 8:45pm | editor
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi seeks protection of state royalty for oil citing huge loss of revenue. In a letter sent to petroleum minister Sudini Jaipal Reddy, Gogoi said Assam despite being a...

Other Contents by Author

It’s shocking to report that a number of Guwahati-based scribes and RTI (right to information) activists have been facing interrogation and even arrest by Assam chief minister’s special vigilance cell following the allegations of Sewali Devi Sharma, the prime accused in Rs 105 crore State council of educational research and training (SCERT) scam, as being blackmailers to her in different occasions. The arrestees include a female reporter (identified as Pujamoni Das alias Honey Kashyap, who reportedly took a large volume of money from Ms Sharma) along with a satellite news channel reporter named Bhaskarjoti Hazarika.  RTI activists namely Rabijit Gogoi (who pretended to be a...
Guwahati: Assam is all set to host first sustainable financial working group (SFWG) meeting and Youth 20 inception meeting as part of India's year-long G20 presidency, where it is meticulously chalked out various tour programs that would help in promoting the State’s rich biodiversity and socio-cultural heritage in international arena. The authorities have completed the preparation to welcome the foreign delegates to the State. Guwahati is adorned with digital wall painting, thematic gates, flags of G 20 countries, LED cut-outs, standees, hoarding, etc as part of branding and beautification. The government has also completed the arrangement for the visiting delegates to places of...
Guwahati: India observes National Press Day on 16 November with an aim to pay tributes to everyone who contributed to the growth of print media along with its mentor & watchdog the Press Council of India (PCI). Moreover, it’s also an occasion for the practicing media persons to introspect seriously over their noble profession where it has been heading in the post-Covid-19 pandemic era. Since its inception and functioning, the PCI continues to symbolize a free and responsible press in the largest democracy in the world. Among all press or media councils, functioning in various countries, the PCI is recognised as a unique entity that exercises authority over the media and also safeguards...
Participating in a debate on satellite television or digital channels needs some homeworks to make the deliberations short and clear. Unless you face an arrogant anchor and unruly participants, the experience in talk shows normally emerges as an intriguing one. It happened to me, as I had recently participated in a digital media discussion on the pertinent issue of National Register of Citizens  (NRC) in Assam, where the prime guest was none other than the immediate past State NRC coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma. The talk show host Dikshit Sharma put the questions in a clever way so that the issue comes alive and my part was just to interpret Dev Sarma’s version for clarity to the valued...
Guwahati: It was an amazing experience to attend the foundation day of a 25 year old press club in central Assam on a lazy Sunday, where a number of senior citizens along with rural scribes and novice journalists were waiting to listen to my speech. It’s easier to address a journalist’s meet- where we can discuss many issues with liberties, but while the audience includes respected senior citizens and young people, it becomes a difficult task to speak to them together. First, the question that arises, how much should I highlight the eroding credibility of the mainstream media around India in general and Assam in particular and secondly what may be the role of social (alternate/digital)...
Guwahati: A year-long celebration of 100 years of sports journalism in Assam begins coinciding on the day while the first ever news related to a football competition is published in Asomiya (a weekly news magazine mentored by Chandra Kumar Agarwala) on 1  July 1923. Assam Sports Journalists Association (ASJA), which is affiliated with the Sports Journalists Federation of India (a national affiliate of the International Sports Press Association), has taken the lead in celebrating the occasion that will culminate on 1  July next year. On Saturday, flags for ASJA and the centenary celebration were hoisted by ASJA’s founder president Balendra Mohan Chakraborty and his successor...
Reactions from the public (sensitive readers) against a news item in any newspaper (also news channel) are usual in India, but outrages against the mainstream media outlets in digital platforms for not covering a particular issue is definitely an unusual phenomenon. The north-eastern state of Assam witnessed such public fury against some of the editor-journalists for avoiding press conferences by opposition political parties where they targeted the state chief minister for his family’s alleged land scam. The organized public uproar in the alternate media was so intense that the celebrity editor-journalists of Assam did not dare to clarify their positions. They preferred to avoid the...
Hyderabad: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has strongly condemned the incident of assault on a Manipur journalist and urged the state chief minister, N. Biren Singh, to book the culprits under the law. The National Union of Subscribes also wished for an early recovery of Elangbam Rameshwar, who works as a Thoubal correspondent for the Naharolgi Thoudang regional daily newspaper, which is published from Imphal. Local media hinted that the handiwork was masterminded by some Congress workers in the Thoubal locality of the north-eastern state, who were attacked by a group of 20 to 25 masked men in the morning hours on 24 October. The rural reporter faced assault at his residence in the...
Hyderabad: The national executive committee meeting of Indian Journalists Union (IJU), which concluded on Sunday in the capital city of Telangana, discussed various burning issues concerning the practitioners of journalism across India and emphasized on effective safety & security to journalists, reforms in Press Council of India (PCI) and basic minimum facilities to the media fraternity sustaining the spirit under freedom of the press to serve the largest democracy on the globe. Chaired by IJU president K Sreenivas Reddy, the two-day meeting held at Tourism Plaza in Begumpet locality expressed serious concern over killings of journalists by anti-social elements and filing of cases...
Guwahati: Interviewing a leader of an armed outfit in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and publishing its substance through a portal can be termed as a serious offence against the concerned editor. The fate of Khaing Mrat Kyaw, chief editor of Narinjara news portal, based in Sittwe of Rakhine (also known as Arakan) province in western Myanmar indicates the state of media’s freedom in the southeast Asian country. While the world is fighting against Covid-19 pandemic with over a hundred thousand casualties, the Myanmar authorities have framed charges of glorifying terrorism against the editor for uploading an interview with Khaing Thu Ka, spokesperson of Arakan Army, an ethnic revolutionary...