Constantly debating on the best system or framework for the progress of world economy, economists world over remain confined to the mainstream view of a market driven capitalistic structure.
Marx seems to have failed after the two socialist giants adopting the free market capitalistic regime. Gandhi and Schumacher never got very noticed with their ideas of decentralized economies (Gandhi wanted India to be a federation of 700,000 village republics, but Nehru and his successors had different plans). Capitalism has been the greatest driver for the world economy; it comes with its threats of externalities of social inequality, environment damage, but ends up creating a market for every externality.
Corporations have become islands of economic power; the largest 500 corporations of the world literally control the world economy. The have dominated policy decisions across the world and thus dictate the framework of demand and supply.
In the 1970’s Friedman introduced the concept of corporate social responsibility in a magazine article, and restricting the responsibility of a corporation to creating profit for its shareholders, and leaving the social responsibility to them. More recently belief’s regarding this have changed, Gates and his peers believe that corporate image as a sensitive an responsible part of the society helps improve the bottom line, by creating a greater positive image. Other argue that social needs and priorities can not be left for charity of corporations.
Personally I agree with Schumacher, who believed that small is beautiful, and that many small changes can make a big difference, therefore smaller initiatives taken in the sprit of positive change should be supported, whether they are to reduce poverty, combat climate change or sustaining peace in the planet.
Social entrepreneurship is the perfect guise for today’s generation contributing to society by working on alternatives and creating markets for the externalities.