This article - Thoughts on Reluctant Entrepreneurship (Stanford Social Innovation Review) - seems to think so. I love this article, it fired me up quite a bit when reading it. It makes me very proud really to be part of a generation that has evolved into a bunch of pragmatic-idealists. Folks who want to make a change but enjoy their lives while doing so, people who want to change the world around them but are not divorced from their ordinary humanity in some sense. Basically young, ambitious empathetic people who are more aware than ever about what's happening in places far from them, more concerned than ever about the role they can play in the world.
How do I see social entrepreneurship? I think this is a generation that when disillusioned with the lack of opportunities in existing institutional structures, is perfectly comfortable with thinking differently, creating its own opportunities but smartly minimising associated risks. I think this is because our species as a whole has needed time to understand the machinery of our social institutions, and it's only now that we can grasp how to exploit the potential presented by our global market system. I think this generation of people has grown up with great insight into how market institutions work. They have enough of an understanding of these institutions to be able to use it for good, innovate within the system, capitalise on it. (Bad pun, hopefully gone unobserved).
I think this generation has shown its brilliance in merging the social with the economic, in merging social networks with economic networks, in using the human need for social connections to the advantage of its physical need for various material commodities. I think this generation is both empathetic and cynical, of both itself and its parent generation.
This is not a panegyric. Our generation will make some massive mistakes. And it will also take probably another generation before the severely wide socioeconomic gaps in the world are reduced significantly, before global public health issues are solved, before enough people decide to put their excessive consumerism behind them so as to help address our generation's biggest challenge - the climate change problem.
But I do think it's rather remarkable and certainly very interesting the way social entrepreneurship at least attempts to address that basic conundrum - how to reconcile individual 'selfish' interest with group interest?
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I love this sentence from this article: "For many of us, entrepreneurship is our anger, our edge, and our ego. It is our social movement."