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Posts Tagged ‘yunus’

Must-see HDTV

Posted by Richard on April 25, 2007

Did you take my advice and watch "The Ultimate Resource" last night? It was simply outstanding, meeting and exceeding my rather high expectations. Visually, it was first-class — beautiful high-definition video comparable in quality to the better Discovery HD programming. The content was fascinating as well as uplifting.

My only minor criticism is that the last of the five segments — the story of Shanghai entrepreneurs and their computer game company — was the weakest. The China segment was merely interesting, while the preceding four segments were moving:

  • In Ghana, a poor fisherman and his wife wanted their daughter to get a good education, so they put her in a private school instead of the free government school. James Tooley explained that in this very poor region of Ghana, 75% of the schools are private and for-profit, and all of them outperform the government schools.
  • In Peru, remote mountain villagers celebrated when they finally get legal titles to land that their families have worked for generations. Hernando de Soto talked about how property rights and the rule of law can turn the world's four billion poor into eager and successful stakeholders in the capitalist system.
  • In Estonia, the former Soviet republic has become one of the economically freest countries on Earth, enabling the Estonia Piano Company to transform itself from an inefficient producer of mediocre pianos for the state into an efficient, successful producer of some of the world's highest-quality instruments.
  • In Bangladesh, a young woman got a small loan so she and her husband could buy a loom. This enabled them to make and sell high-quality saris, lifting themselves out of poverty. Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammed Yunus and his Grameen Bank have made millions of similar "microcredit" loans (averaging $70), always for an income-producing purpose that will lift a family out of poverty. The repayment rate is 99%. 

The program is a joyous and heartwarming celebration of the human spirit and of the benefits of liberty. By all means, see it if you can. HDNet is showing it several more times in the next few days (see schedule). I'm sure it will eventually be available on DVD, but if you can see it on HDNet this week, I bet you'll be glad you did. 

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The Ultimate Resource

Posted by Richard on April 23, 2007

If you're an advocate of free markets and a fan of the late Julian Simon and the late Milton Friedman, and you have an HDTV, it doesn't get any better than this: glorious high-definition images from exotic locales all over the world celebrating people's creativity as the ultimate resource and freedom as the key to enabling them to accomplish wonderful things. 

Tuesday, April 24, at 10 PM Eastern, HDNet premieres a new documentary from Free To Choose Media entitled "The Ultimate Resource." It will repeat five more times between then and May 5 (see schedule), so you have time to buy that high-def TV you've been thinking about and order HD programming from your cable or satellite provider. 

Lance at A Second Hand Conjecture has lots of info:

In short, they travel to China, Bangladesh, Estonia, Ghana, and Peru and show examples of how people (thank you Julian Simon) – when given the incentives and the tools – are proving they can apply their free choice, intelligence, imagination and spirit to dramatically advance their well-being and that of their families and communities. …

You can see the trailer and more here. Teachers can get the video (and lots of other resources) for free at izzit.org.

These stories of entrepreneurship and achievement among the world's poorest people illustrate the ideas of four outstanding thinkers featured in the program:

Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, founded the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which uses microfinance to bring opportunity to the world’s poorest people by helping them to start their own businesses.

Hernando de Soto, founder of The Institute for Liberty and Democracy in Peru, helps developing countries open their systems — creating strategies for legal reform that offer the majority of the world’s people a stake in the free market economy.

James Tooley, British professor of education policy, explores the widespread, dramatic impact of low budget private education– financed not by charities or wealthy supporters– but by the poor families themselves in India, China, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana.

Johan Norberg, Swedish author and scholar, takes aim at both left-wing critics, who would condemn developing countries to poverty until they develop “First World” workplace standards, and Western governments, whose free market rhetoric is undercut by tariffs on textiles and agriculture, areas in which developing countries can actually compete.

Wow, what a lineup! I can't wait to see it. 

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