Posted by: millumino | November 29, 2009

If you trade security for freedom, you start living

In my last post I discussed my grand plan to escape responsibility and obligation and achieve the ultimate freedom by cycling the world:  living in a tent, sharing meals with nomads, forging new roads. I would be responsible to, and responsible for, no-one.  I would see all the countries, cultures, landscapes, architecture and art that I could possibly desire.  I would be fit and healthy and life would be stress and care free!  I would need only the bare essentials for clothing, food, shelter and communication.  I would sell my business, rent or sell my property and dispose of unnecessary assets. I would not require expensive consumer goods, after all a plasma TV (not that I own one) would not fit on the bike!

Instead I have traded the “cycotherapy” liberation plan for something bolder.  I am putting my financial security on the line to make a contribution to the lives of people less privileged than myself.  In this new plan, the “M’illumino plan”,  I am trading security for a social enterprise and this has given me freedom to realise my vision to make the world a better place.  I  have started living!  I have started living a life with purpose, a life with vitality, a life with passion and hopefully a life which will add value to society.

Recent media reports have suggested there are too many NGO’s, too many non-profits and too many social entrepreneurs.  These organisations are thought to be  un-coordinated, inefficient and lacking economies of scale.  I would refer the critics to  E F Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful:  Economics as if People Mattered which was required reading for Macro Economics in the 1st year of my economics degree.  Schumacher advocated the efficiency and sustainability of small scale development with a local focus, a theory which is perhaps even more relevant in today’s economic climate.  And whatever a corporation’s or country’s financial or economic goals might be, people do matter!

So do I think that launching yet another social enterprise is inefficient?  No I do not.  Do I think my focus should remain local?  In the short term, yes, because there is much to be achieved  in this country.  Do I think my enterprise should be for profit?  Absolutely,  because by reinvesting that profit and employing the best people, M’illumino will be able to focus on sustainable social projects. In other words the business must be sustainable for it to achieve its goals of making a contribution to society.  In the longer term M’illumino will act globally as  health, poverty, environmental and moral issues are global issues.

If enough people decide  not to escape from our responsibilities we will have the answers  for our children about what we can do to end poverty, to promote peace, to save animals and plants from extinction, to mend environmental degradation, to promote ethical corporate and national governance, and construct a socially and ecologically sound environment that we will be proud to hand to our grand children.

Please watch the video of 12 year old  Severn Suzuki’s presentation at  the UN Conference on Environment and Development in 1992.  Have we come up with any answers?  Have we made any progress?  You be the judge!

With thanks for the link to Liviu Callinan, MPhil. in International Peace Studies at ISE Trinity College Dublin, who posted the link at the Leadership Cafe Foundation.

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