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Main Messages Delivered by Professor Muhammad Yunus at the Roundtable on Ecosystem Building and Digital Development of Financial Inclusion in Asia
Origin:Boao Forum for Asia      Time:2020-07-06 21:19:56    Views:326

(July 2, 2020)

First, I would like to share with you a global appeal to make Coronavirus vaccine as a global common good. Several countries have been involved in producing this vaccine. Some of them are promising they will produce it by the end of the year. What is such a situation when vaccines are not (widely) available? There will be a thriving business for trade vaccines. The Polio vaccine was done as a common good. The person who created that vaccine, he announced it will not be owned by anybody, this will be owned by people. In that way, the Polio vaccine went around very quickly. The same thing can be done for the Coronavirus vaccine. Why don’t we make it as a global common good so that anyone can produce it anywhere and make sure that people get it as fast as it is produced and make sure that the people who cannot pay, get it free, and people who can pay, pay the money. This is the appeal I have made and I want China to join in. China would be a good leader in opening up this door so that anybody can produce vaccine created by China. I want to make this appeal at the Boao Forum to the Chinese leaders to consider. It is the time to make sure that China provides the leadership to overcome the pandemic.

Another point is Do we really want to go back to the world before the Coronavirus pandemic? It was not a happy world that we want to look forward to going back to. It was a world where global warming was about to destroy the whole world, and it was only a matter of a few years to go before the whole planet became unlivable and gradually became worse and worse. Even the teenagers all over the world, I am sure, they have done it, the teenagers have done it in China too. They are complaining that their parents’ generation has been extremely irresponsible for not thinking about the future of their children because now the future of the children are dark. They don’t have a future. So keep taking cue from that. Is that the world we want to go back to? Is that what we want to do?

I said the Coronavirus has done us a good favor by stopping all of this global warming. Because the machine which has generated this global warming was put to sleep by the Coronavirus. As long as it remains asleep, we won’t have any global warming problem. The Coronavirus also stopped the wealth concentration which was another terrible thing that happened in the world before Coronavirus stopped it. It was creating enormous wealth concentration and starting wage was described as 99 percent of the world only going to 1 percent of the population of the world. What kind of world is that where 99 percent of the population has to live with only one percent of world’s wealth while other one percent and enjoying the 99 percent of wealth of the world.

The third one, the artificial intelligence is coming in, in a big way very soon. Massive number of people will be out of jobs because that helps businesses make big money. Artificial intelligence will be the target of the businesses to bring it in so that people can be removed from their jobs. So, it will create a massive unemployment problem. This again, creates another unstable situation for the whole world, an unhappy situation for the whole world. That’s the world that we left thanks to the Coronavirus.

How to make sure we don’t go back but find an alternative? The first decision is not going back. We have to build the new world completely, and we have to find a new format. Now that we don’t have the machine charging high speed ahead, we have time to reflect and make it different and go someplace else.

In designing the entire economy in a new way, the financial system will be the first priority. The financial system has to be designed in a way where we do not ignore the bottom half of the entire population of the planet which is totally exposed. We talk about the Fintech, the microcredit and the SMEs. These are the people who are left out from the conventional financial system. Again, even when the micro credit is expanding, expanding in a very small way, there’s still a large chunk of people around the world completely separated from the financial system.

So how do we do that? It is still microcredit and all of these things that we do in our countries, and not adopted by the mainstream financial organization, the financial institution. It is still microcredit and other things, which are sort of a footnote into the mainstream financial system.

How can we make this whole microcredit and anything financing the poorest people at the center of the financial system, not at the footnote of it? That’s the basic question. I have been pleading that microcredit should not be a source of making money out of poor people. It should be a social business, namingly a business to help people rather than make money out of the poor people. So this is a social business, a business to solve people’s problem, this time it will be the financial problem, without making any personal profits what so ever. So, we have profit maximization business which is familiar to us. Now we have to introduce in the new world, a new kind of business, a business that doesn’t intend to make personal profit at all and social business is the kind of business that we have to do.

In the financial sector, we have to create many banks as social business banks, meaning they are not interested in making money. They are interested in solving the problems of wealth concentration so they can support the people in the bottom, and support all of the things which have not been done before in a very efficient way but not for making money for themselves. We have to address it in a global way, not just a piece here and there. We have talked about Fintech and technology in the financial system.  Technology is just the tool, it does not have its own mind. It is our mind that uses technology to make it happen and to achieve the goal we have in our mind.

 

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