Imagine capitalism and charity as two distinct personalities. Capitalism is a greedy fat cat dressed in a corporate suit, and Charity is a peace-loving love dove on an altruistic mission. Capitalism’s primary motivation is to gain the highest profits. On the other hand, Charity’s main drive is to change the world for the better. Now, do you reckon they are friends or rivals?
The former’s mission is profit, and the latter’s mission is helping others and preserving our planet. Until recently, capitalism and charity have been seen as rivals rather than friends. Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR has led to some change in perception. In the light of CSR, corporations are given a second chance in redeeming themselves, a second chance to show that they care not only about making the highest profits. However, their claims of caring for us and the environment are soon revealed to be nothing more than pretentious campaigns to improve their image in the eyes of the world.
The evils of capitalism are not unknown to us. Capitalism is often portrayed as a ruthless entity which is notorious for exploiting people and destroying our planet in the name of profit. Charity, on the other hand, is no angel herself. Charity has often been criticised of doing more harm than good by creating strong dependencies on external money or installing technology where local communities have neither the expertise nor money to fix it when it inevitably breaks down. As it is becoming more obvious to us that neither capitalism nor charity can deliver the solutions to the world’s problems by itself, another path emerges that converges capitalism and charity – social enterprise. Social enterprise is the mediator that truly brings capitalism and charity together for the benefit of everyone. This movement includes for-profits whose main mission is social and positive change, and non-profits that use business models to pursue their mission. Rather than maximizing shareholder value, the primary aim of social enterprises is to generate profit to further their social and/or environmental goals.