The New Recruits: Can capitalism save the world?


What do you get if the 1960s and a banker on Wall Street had a baby? Social entrepreneurism. Though it has a long history, it's been a buzzword since Muhammad Yunnus and his Grameen Bankwon the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for lifting people out of poverty through microloans.

Social entrepreneurism isn't charity; it's business as usual, tailored to those in high-need, and the subject of an upcoming documentary, The New Recruits: Can Capitalism Save the World?

"There's been this thing called charity, that as long as I can remember was the approach to helping those in need," says Jeremy Newberger, one of the film's directors and producers. Charity, says Newberger, has shown us it can't be the only solution. "There's still poor people, there's still suffering."

Newberger and his partners in Ironbound Films, Seth Kramer and Daniel A. Miller, wanted to understand this growing phenomenon of a market driven Peace Corp, so to speak. So with their video cameras, they shadowed three out of the nine 2009 fellows of the Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture fund, as they tried to build businesses in some of the world's most volatile regions.

"You're experiencing offices in the developing world," says Newberger, who calls the film "Apprentice meets Slum Dog Millionaire." Playing on this theme, The Office's Rainn Wilson is the narrator, which infuses the film with his dry humor.

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