Christian Long

Jacqueline Novogratz: Patient Capitalism

In TED Talks on April 25, 2010 at 10:47 pm

Reflection by AMBER W.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Jacqueline Novogratz:  Patient Capitalism

Throughout her TED talk, Jacqueline Novogratz offered her views on patient capitalism with explanations from past experiences and her own personal view on capitalism in society today.

Jacqueline begins her talk by giving her audience an entertaining story about her trip to Africa, stating she was going to “save the African continent” when in reality, many peoples’ personal goal when going to Africa is just that. Expecting a typical story about how she helped so many people and accomplished all her goals, I was not anticipating much. Yet, Jacqueline tells it from a very personal level, although being an extremely painful time in her life, she found light at the end of the tunnel. One thing I liked was that she wasn’t afraid to admit failure and through being motivated by failure, she discovered many things about the African people that she would have never found if she hadn’t developed a sense of understanding and of course, by not giving up.

My favourite part was very early on in the talk, when she asked the African women what colour they wanted to paint the bakery. Although they settled on blue, the real colour of Africa was green but nobody decided to speak their mind. My favourite part wasn’t the story, it was her thoughts regarding the incident and why the African women chose not to say anything.

“And I learned then that listening isn’t just about patience, but that when you’ve lived on charity and dependent your whole life long, it’s really hard to say what you mean. And, mostly because people never really ask you, and when they do, you don’t really think they want to know the truth. And so then I learned that listening is not only about waiting, but it’s also learning how better to ask questions.”

I cannot begin to explain how much I love this expression because it doesn’t only relate to the African women. The lesson in the quote could better lives even in today’s society. When someone is quiet doesn’t necessarily mean they do not have an opinion or have nothing to say. People dealing with difficulties in life and specifically teenagers all have a voice and while some are in need of sometimes severe help they can believe nobody wants to listen and nobody cares just like Jacqueline Novogratz states throughout her quote. Therefore, they shut themselves out of society eventually leading to deepening trust issues. Simply put, I believe people do need a better understanding of the people in their lives because what you see on the surface is not always what is on the inside and if they feel neglected for so long, it could affect them greatly.

Yet, that had absolutely nothing to do with capitalism, the real point of the video. Jaqueline does offer three very good points in her TED talk about capitalism and its relation to poverty.

1. Dignity is more important to human spirit than wealth.

2.Traditional charity and aid are never going to solve the problems of poverty.

3.Markets alone are not going to solve problems of poverty.

Her perspective is that it is a combination of investment and philanthropy that will solve poverty problems, along with listening to the specific people in need. Without these three things and truly listening and understanding those in need, we will never reach a society we want to live in.

Just because we aren’t facing these poverty problems and cannot fully understand the impact it has on children and adults all around the world, we can educate ourselves through people like Ms. Novogratz and better the future by gaining understanding of those in need and using that understanding, not assumptions, to improve the help we offer to those in poverty.

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