Small Change: Why Business Won't Save the World

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Overview

A new movement is afoot that promises to save the world by applying the magic of the market to the challenges of social change. Its supporters argue that using business principles to solve global problems is far more effective than more traditional approaches. What could be wrong with that?

Almost everything, argues former Ford Foundation director Michael Edwards. In this hard-hitting, controversial exposé, he marshals a wealth of evidence to reveal that in reality, a market ...

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Small Change: Why Business Won't Save the World

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Overview

A new movement is afoot that promises to save the world by applying the magic of the market to the challenges of social change. Its supporters argue that using business principles to solve global problems is far more effective than more traditional approaches. What could be wrong with that?

Almost everything, argues former Ford Foundation director Michael Edwards. In this hard-hitting, controversial exposé, he marshals a wealth of evidence to reveal that in reality, a market approach hurts more than it helps. Real change will come when business acts more like civil society, not the other way around.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605093772
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/11/2010
  • Pages: 120
  • Sales rank: 672,237
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Edwards is an independent writer and activist who is affiliated with the New York-based think-tank Demos, the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, and the Brooks World Poverty Institute at Manchester University in the UK. From 1999 to 2008 he was Director of the Ford Foundation’s Governance and Civil Society Program, and previously worked for the World Bank, OxFam, and Save the Children.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: The Rise of Philanthrocapitalism
Chapter 1: Clearing the Analytical Ground: Definitions and Differences
Social Enterprise
Chapter 2: What Does the Evidence Have to Tell Us?
Chapter 3: Adam Smith's Dilemma: What Does Theory Have to Tell Us?
Chapter 4: Continuing the Conversation: Conclusions and Next Steps
Organizing A Better Conversation
Principles of Self-Restraint

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Informed discussion of how business and social activism do and do not mix

    Popular wisdom says that nonprofit entities could achieve reform and efficiency best by acting like for-profits, and that being businesslike is the finest all-purpose path for organizations addressing the world's problems. Social activist Michael Edwards disagrees. In this thoughtful, articulate argument, he enumerates - without ever slipping into polemic ¬- the pitfalls in that line of thinking. He explains how nonprofits develop their own methods, and how vulnerable their processes are to inflexible thinking. He discusses with clarity and rigor the likely role business tactics could play in solving pressing issues, and he examines how capitalism and philanthropy do and do not work together. At first, this fascinating discussion seems contrarian, but it gains common sense as it goes along. getAbstract highly recommends this book to those who want to know how capitalism and philanthropy unite, to those who are interested in changing the world (or even the street) and, of course, to anyone with billions who wants to shift the social dynamic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Required reading for everyone in philanthropy

    "Small Change should be required reading for every foundation board member and program officer, every major donor -- in fact, philanthropists of any description. In this tiny volume, Michael Edwards lays bare the fatal flaws in the philanthropic world in America today and offers a prescription for healing the field that could play a major role in putting our country back on track to leading with its values.

    Oddly enough, Edwards did not set out to write a critique of American philanthropy. The book is subtitled Why Business Won't Save the World, and the author's stated objective was to debate the dubious claims of the "philanthrocapitalism" espoused by The Economist's Michael Bishop and others, the "creative capitalism" offered by Bill Gates, the "fortune at the bottom of the pyramid" of C. K. Prahalad, "corporate social responsibility" of the window-dressing variety, and "social enterprise" in virtually all its guises. His goal, in short, was to reject the role of business, business thinking, and the market as solutions for the ills of the nonprofit sector.

    Michael Edwards is brilliant, articulate, and extremely knowledgeable about philanthropy, civil society, and social change, all of which are major themes in this book. For nearly ten years, he directed the Ford Foundation's Governance and Civil Society Program, and he has spent a total of three decades in the nonprofit sector. On matters involving business he is less sure-footed. In the course of writing this book, he conducted extensive research on the role of business and business thinking in the not-for-profit world. That research shows clearly in Edwards' eloquent critique of philanthropy that either comes directly from corporate sources or is guided by the metrics-driven methodologies of the business world."

    From Mal Warwick's blog on books: http://malwarwickonbooks.com/2010/02/15/small-change-by-michael-edwards/

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