In October 2011, Dr Rajiv Shah spoke of the need for USAID to embrace an Enlightened Capitalism.by "helping support the work of markets that can deliver profits and create jobs and deliver economic opportunity for women, minorities and the poor."
It was the same call made to USAID and the Committee on Foreign Relations four years ago in February 2008 when my colleague Terry Hallman called for support in "establishing an alternative form of capitalism, where profits and/or aid money are put to use in investment vehicles with the singular purpose of helping the world's poorest and most vulnerable people"
It came in a fax which described RICO activities in which disabled children had become means for organised crime to profit and where children often died through neglect.
This was the primary focus of our project which at that time had persuaded the government of Ukraine to pledge 400+ rehab centres for these disabled children and we'd applied to an USAID small grant program for investment in the first of these. The response was to say that USAID did not have sufficient funds to deal with the problems of this group of 'retarded children'.
The project goes back to 2006 when in his article 'Death Camps, For Children' my colleague Terry Hallman described conditions at an institution in Torez. Last year, the Sunday Times on discovering Torez had concluded: "If by our deliberate blindness, children are allowed to suffer such depravities then, by our inaction, we are all guilty."
This was the primary focus in a proposal from 2006, setting out a strategy plan for social enterprise and a social investment fund. The proposal pointed out that for what was then being spent in Iraq, 1.5 billion dollars each week, the project could be adequately funded over 5 years .
In 2010, USAID and The British Council who had both been approached for support in this work determined to create their own social enterprise initiative, albeit without the social objectives we'd set out. We subsequently applied to become partners, to be disregarded.
In August 2011, Terry Hallman died, unable to fund the medical treatment which may have saved his life. His death gave the opportunity to reveal the full scope of his actions.including his call on the Senate which ended:
"Thank you for your time and attention to this. I and others will look forward to hearing from you. I hope we continue to realize ever more fully that outside the box and inside the box have only a box in the way. We outside the box know quite a bit of what's going on, many times in exquisite detail, perhaps in ways that those inside the box can't quite as easily access if at all. We are grossly underfunded in favor of missiles, bombs, and ordnance, which is about 100% backwards. Now, with even the US Pentagon stating that they've learned their lesson in Iraq and realize (so says top US general in Iraq ten days or so ago) that winning hearts and minds is the best option, I and others shall continue to think positive and look for aid budgets and funding spigots to be opened much more for people and NGOs in silos, foxholes and trenches, insisting on better than ordnance, and who understand things and how to fix them. We can do that. We can even do it cost-effectively and with far better efficiency than the ordnance route. Welcome to our brave new world. Except it's not so new: learn to love and respect each other first, especially the weakest, most defenseless, most voiceless among us, then figure out the rest. There aren't other more important things to do first. This message has been around for at least two thousand years. How difficult is it for us to understand?"
We want an alternative to capitalism, but it's not by any stretch of the imagination one in which vulnerable children and those who speak out for them are brushed under the carpet. Neither do we want a capitalism which hijacks and dilutes social purpose to accommodate the will of moguls