BOOKCASE: The End of Charity: Time for Social Enterprise


• Nic Frances

• Allen & Unwin

• RRP $32.99

Nic Frances is social entrepreneur and is recognised in the highest global councils as such. He was also charity worker, and pretty successful at that too.
So, the story of his epiphany by which he flipped from steadfast belief in the efficacy of charity to an understanding that only the market can deliver just and sustainable world, is tale worth telling and reading.
Frances believes, and his belief is deep rooted in rich and colourful experiences, that real social change is necessary but the world needs values-centred market economy to deliver it; thinking that is not unlike that of Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.
His attitudes toward the market are, he says, “extremely ambivalent”. He is not an “unabashed admirer”. He agrees, for instance, that the market, the economy and money “are at the root of many” of the world’s problems. But as social entrepreneur he believes the market is the only mechanism capable of speedily alleviating the problems “our current economic system” has created.
The Frances’ explanation of the principles of social entrepreneurship is interesting. He weaves his concepts of the market as tool for delivering both values and profits with the increasingly well worn, and sometimes proven contention that corporate social responsibility benefits businesses and the community. Welfare organisations will, he argues, only be really effective when they explore social enterprise and corporate partnerships.
The objective of the book, says Frances, is to engender new dialogue because the world needs to move beyond “notions of charity and welfare, beyond ‘do-gooding’ and guilt, to system that recognises the complexity of our values and realistic understanding of how we can support them”. It goes good distance toward achieving its objective.

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