Micro-credit pioneer Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh, founder of Grameen Bank, unveiled a bold vision for ending global poverty as he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday.
"Poverty is a threat to peace," the economist-turned-humanitarian banker said in accepting the 1.4 million dollar prize. "The frustrations, hostility and anger generated by abject poverty cannot sustain peace in any society in the world."
The Grameen Bank, which shared the award, has helped millions in Bangladesh extricate themselves from penury through tiny, collateral-free loans, and has been successfully emulated throughout the world over the last decade.
In his prepared speech, Yunus outlined the contours a parallel economy based on self-sustaining "social businesses"- such as Grameen and several joint ventures he has created with multinational corporations - that reinvest profits rather than paying dividends.
"By defining 'entrepreneur' in a broader way we can change the character of capitalism radically, and solve many of the unresolved social and economic problems within the scope of the free market," Yunus said.
Once recognised in law, Yunus predicted, these social businesses will eventually develop their own capital markets to attract investment.
Calling the 66-year-old Bangladeshi a "modern Gandhi," the Norwegian Nobel Committee saluted his efforts "to create economic and social development from below.