Thursday, March 27, 2008

Brooks Times Op-Ed on Social Entrepreneurship

This New York Times Op-Ed from David Brooks talks about social entrepreneurship:

America Forward, a consortium of these entrepreneurs, wants government to do domestic policy in a new way. It wants Washington to expand national service (to produce more social entrepreneurs) and to create a network of semipublic social investment funds. These funds would be administered locally to invest in community-run programs that produce proven results. The government would not operate these social welfare programs, but it would, in essence, create a network of semipublic Gates Foundations that would pick winners based on stiff competition.
There’s obviously a danger in getting government involved with these entrepreneurs. Government agencies are natural interferers, averse to remorseless competition and quick policy shifts. Nonetheless, these funds are worth a try.
The funds would head us toward this new policy model, in which government sets certain accountability standards but gives networks of local organizations the freedom to choose how to meet them. President Bush’s faith-based initiative was a step in this direction, but this would be broader.
Furthermore, we might as well take advantage of this explosion of social entrepreneurship. These are some of the smartest and most creative people in the country. Even if we don’t know how to reduce poverty, it’s probably worth investing in these people and letting them figure it out.
They won’t stop bugging us until we do.
Not sure why this is an opinion rather than a news report, but Brooks is certainly self-fulfilling his prophecy when he says that "Fashions in goodness change, just like fashions in anything else, and these days some of the very noblest people have assumed the manners of the business world — even though they don’t aim for profit."

1 comment:

Kemi said...

Thanks. That's a pretty cool article. I think accountability and freedom are what is lacking in many government run or even privately run organizations who have even the best intentions.

Original post: April 02, 2008 at 03:27 PM