"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Making the World a better place - The Big Issue

An article on baritone Bryn Terfel, advice on starting a small business, some beautiful poetry, photography, and artwork, film reviews including one on The King’s Speech, other reviews of sculpture, music events, books. A weekly magazine of wide appeal – and this is all for £2. A women’s magazine? A colour supplement? No it’s the Big Issue, approaching its 20th birthday in 2011. And the small business mentioned above is the business to help the homeless away from begging, sleeping rough, and the inherent dangers in their lifestyle, often forced upon them by circumstance.
The idea was launched by John Bird and Gordon Roddick, co-founder with his late wife Anita Roddick of Body Shop. John and Gordon saw a scheme on the streets of New York, where the homeless were given a free magazine and allowed to keep the proceeds of sale. They saw no future in this model, believing that this simply perpetuated the begging ethos. So they founded the Big Issue. With this model the homeless buy the magazine for £1 and sell it for £2. They therefore have the makings of their own small business, having to make decisions from day to day about how many magazines they will be able to sell, how much of their proceeds they should reinvest in to stock and how much is available for their food etc. They have the opportunity to interact with the public everyday, to engage with humankind; and that is essential for self esteem, confidence and human flourishing. And there are many success stories about those who have lifted themselves up from their life of poverty, cold, hunger, begging, through starting off with selling The Big Issue.

Another article in The Big Issue for January 3-9, 2011 is 36 Ways to Make the World a Better Place in 2011. Way Number 1 is to promote The Big Issue to help these people regain their spirit, bounce back from their often desperate situation, “sow the seeds of their own salvation.” (p. 9)

So don’t walk by, looking down at the pavement when you see one of these “small business” entrepreneurs. Buy their magazine. It’s only £2. Read it on the bus or the train or the tram as you travel home, give it to others to read when you have finished with it, let them see that it is interesting whilst serving such a worthwhile purpose. Help The Big Issue to make the world a better place in 2011.

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