Bio-Human Ecology
Livelihood & Anthropology
Social Entrepreneurs in the Market Context
Social entrepreneurs appeared with the first appearance of the human race on earth. Initially it was the emergence of the Chieftains of human bands during the Primitive Communism era. The Chieftains represented the elementary forms of the Social Entrepreneurial notion. These Chieftains were the embodiments of courage and sacrifice for the sake of the community in their societies. They were the people with intelligence who dared challenge wild animals and the forces of nature to secure peace for the community, to help the community overcome difficulties in the process of struggling against nature’s harsh conditions, as well as facing any external threats. The benefits brought about by the intelligence and physical labour of these chieftains in their leadership of the community were distributed evenly to all members of the community.
As society develops, classes and class struggle arise, and the state comes into play. Competition between the classes intensifies as time goes on, under more and more sophisticated and ferocious forms. With the development of intelligence, science and industry improve infinitely day by day. Socialisation brings about diverse philosophies of life - various schools of thought with different political philosophies. In the early period, the philosophies often opposed each other and rarely co-operated. Instead they tended to destroy each other. Then, up to a certain level of development, from mutual destruction, they turned back to co-operate with each other according to the rule of contradiction for the sake of unity, and unity for common progress. Capitalism and socialism were born in such dialectical background, where the ideals and motivation of each thought school evolved. Capitalism is concerned with the capitalist economy of the market and profit, being the measures of its concepts of value.
Whether it is the concern of capitalism or of socialism, when the development process has reached a definitive level, such as today, in the new millennium, when capitalist economic power rules the economy, with transnational capitalist corporations controlling the main sections of the world market, smaller nations with developing economies are forced to put up with the competitive pressure of the market, and globalisation becomes a law of reality. In this way, the capitalist economy comes to prevail on the globalisation arena.
Even in the very heart of capitalist countries, there is a dire need to reformulate the concept of social entrepreneurship. The aim is to restore the values pertaining to moral standards and to criteria for a civilised society. Those criteria have been either neglected or subsumed by the market through monetary means. And the idea of money as the measure for all things has penetrated deep into the roots of people’s subconsciousness, their realm of action, their social relations and human values during the centuries of immersion in the capitalist economy.
Social entrepreneurs endeavour to restore moral standards, voluntarism, and community-minded character in a market society. The indicators of voluntary action, community-centred responsibility, and respect for human values constitute the philosophy for all strategic thinking and orientation in the development of social entrepreneurship.
Thorough research and understanding, through creative application of social entrepreneurial values, a recognition will be gained of the development of social entrepreneurs as special priorities in the strategic orientation for socio-economic development. At the same time they serve as a solution to the problem of maintaining and manifesting the qualities of traditional cultures of various nations, as well as fulfilling better the task of unifying various objectives of civil society and socio-political solutions for the Southeast Asian region in general, for Vietnam and Laos in particular. In Vietnam, the orientation and creation of conditions for development strategy of social entrepreneurship have been the intelligent continuation and optimum deployment of initiative-taking, autonomy, patriotism, socialist idealism that have been long accrued from the resistance struggle against French and American forces in the previous century. These have resulted in solutions for the eradication of hunger and reduction of poverty going hand in hand with a stable development.
The network of social entrepreneurs has been developed, systematically and structurally, in a synchronised fashion. It has become a combined strength, with enough prowess and confidence in competing with other transnational non-government organisations, who are themselves stimulating competitors in aspects of prestige, knowhow and creativity. This has created ethical corridors to enable the attitude of accountability to flourish, as do self-initiated evaluations by socio-economic stake holders of each other on a relatively equitable basis, in co-operative and developmental works. As globalisation has become an essential need for all nations, indexes of stable development and attainment of socialisation will reach a higher and higher level. Human behaviour towards and interaction with other human beings and with the natural environment is to be considered as clues for the international evaluation of any programme oriented towards socio-economic development. The social entrepreneur system will be the central force of the civil society in every nation. Transnational economic groups will have no other choice but to co-operate, respect and develop together with the civil society forces. The distance and difference in behaviour between economic players in all societies will be further reduced. Civilised social interaction and equity objectives in the global context will not be humanity’s disaster area. Social entrepreneurship will be the strategy and the objective in the civil orientation of socio-economic and political development.
Are social entrepreneurs concerned with interests? What forms of interests do social entrepreneurs focus on? Where do those interests come from? And what kind of objective do they serve? Hopefully the readers will study these issues themselves so that they can, in examining each manner of understanding and formulation of social entrepreneurship, debate and discuss with each other on the values pertaining to social entrepreneurs as conceptualised by the above defining school of thought!

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