Muhammad Yunus advises Japan to use technology as social business

Jiji Press

Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus said Japan should use its technologies to create what he calls social businesses, a model aimed at solving social problems rather than the mere pursuit of wealth.


July 28, 2012

Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday, the 72-year-old Bangladeshi economist said social business is “an option” that is compatible with profit-driven business. Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his contribution to fighting poverty.

Japan is “a frontier of technology,” and it should use this technology not only for making money but to solve social problems, he said.

Several Japanese companies, including Fast Retailing Co., the operator of Uniqlo clothing stores, and Watami Co., a major Japanese chain restaurant operator, have teamed up with Yunus to establish joint ventures in Bangladesh under a social business scheme.

The idea of the project with Watami is to “run a restaurant chain for common people with affordable prices and healthy food,” he said.

Creating a business to create jobs can be an objective of social business, Yunus said, adding that it is important to “integrate” old people rather than reject them as useless simply because of their age.

Selfishness is an integral part of human beings, but “there are also selfless parts in everyone,” Yunus said. “Human beings are not robots, not money-making machines.”