The capitalist model needs to be shaken up. This is the idea that Muhammad Yunus, Bangladeshi economist and Nobel Peace Prize winner emphasises in his latest book, A World of Three Zeros (published by PublicAffairs in English; Italian version, Un mondo a tre zeri is published by Feltrinelli): wealth is in the hands of the few while poverty is increasing and so is unemployment.
Yunus’ belief that the traditional banking model is insufficient for the world’s poorest citizens led him to create modern microcredit, under which the world’s poorest receive small financial loans, without the need for collateral. Over time the system has transformed, now aimed particularly towards women in poverty, to allow them to live on the income from their work activities. Yunus describes it as a life-saving system and that is why the economist was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.
According to Yunus capitalism is not only “flawed” but also has many negative repercussions on people’s lives and on the world of work. In fact, on the one hand it has led to the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, continuously exacerbating social disparity and inequality between the rich and the poor, and, on the other, it has created a mentality whereby continuously searching – at all costs – for the perfect job is the only way to be happy.
“Human beings,” says Yunus, “Are not born to work for anybody else or send job applications.” He says that human beings are creative.” That is why it is vital that we encourage young people to be entrepreneurs: that is the only way that wealth can be distributed more equally.
Yunus forecasts a concerning future if we let artificial intelligence become more intelligent than human kind, undermining our place in the world and, in all likelihood, leading to mass unemployment. We need to be careful, limit the use of artificial intelligence to areas that can effectively help humans to be more creative and shape the world to make it a better place, one that provides a comfortable life for everyone.