Fast Social: news in/for the Social economy – week 44

russell_brand_2013What would Russell Brand have made of the social economy this week? Let’s imagine…

A bunch of well-groomed ape-men, superficially altered by post-Clintonian trends! A tacit act of compliance!  A veritable cadre of whingers!

Yet such opprobrium is not confined to Mr. Brand. Oh no, Mr. Quiet Revolution also shook things up this week by telling charities to stop being whingers and be part of solution. But what is the solution -taking your head out of your arse and out of the poll booth to sweep aside reality and create a new order? No you swine! Just help the government with the problems it wants to get rid of. Like poor people perhaps?

But you know who has got something to whinge about? Muhammed Yunus. He seems to be getting right royally screwed over these days, in part due to an unsuccessful foray in to politics. Comedians of the world take note – this shit can come back to bite your derrière.

Such is the complicity, intricacy and down right complexity of the where politics ends and business begins across the world, that it is perhaps unsurprising that back in the UK, the mother of both bastard endeavours, public sector markets have become oligopolistic, characterised by large companies straddling multiple services and metaphorically dumping on taxpayers’ conjoined heads.

But at last, good news! A new report out this week from SEUK shows the tide is turning, thanks to everyone’s favourite supra-national bureaucracy, the European Union. Public sector outsourcing in the UK was already looking like a brilliantly bodacious party, but only if you were in the ‘in crowd’, as it is worth an estimated £100bn. But like McLuvin, the EU has stepped in to go from zero-to-hero with an array of new legislation that will help ensure public services continue to put people first (if they aren’t doing so already, the rascals!) The report hopes that when the new rules come in to effect next year, they will prove significant for social enterprises and create plurality in public services.

But do such rambunctious rumblings signal that complicity with the state is not always a bad thing? It seems to be happening all over the world, with the government in Singapore setting up a mentoring programme for social entrepreneurs using the ever-growing army of tax agnostic corporates, whilst U.S. bureaucrats have given a double thumbs up (Arthur Fonzeralli style) to the idea of ‘equity crowdfunding‘. The latter is a move that has been particularly welcomed by the World Bank, who speculate that this approach could soon unearth the next Steve Jobs somewhere in Africa or other emerging markets.

The revolution cometh perhaps? Fuelled by an endless stream of data being poured from the Jerry-can of Knowledge even? Well if so, fuel was added to that fire with two important services launched this week, both with potential to radically reshape the UK social investment market. Firstly the launch of the Social Investment Research Council, which will hopefully address the much decried data and knowledge gaps in the social investment market. Followed swiftly (but not, presumably, pursued by a bear) by the launch of EngagedX, the world’s first financial index and data platform for social impact investing.

And if that isn’t enough to get you hugging figures as well as trees, read this great article in The Daily Telegraph about how social enterprise is the way forward. While it is unlikely Brand and his acolytes may read such a rag, they’re not really the people that need converting.


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