Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Be Wary of Investors, Including Those of Urgent Evoke

i have been following Urgent Evoke from the beginning and only had the chance to start recently. however, i have noticed a bit of a trend that i think arises from the fact that this is funded by the World Bank. there seems to be a large focus on capitalism and entrepreneurship; as opposed to volunteering, charities and non-profit organizations. as in, Urgent Evoke rarely mentions the latter three.

Gandhi did not use business and capitalism in social activism. neither did Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. nor many others. yet, Urgent Evoke seems to be pushing the idea of making money from helping people; as opposed to JUST HELPING PEOPLE.

i am in no way speaking against invention or innovation. however, i believe that some focus should be upon how some of the wonderful ideas being voiced by agents on Urgent Evoke can be integrated into a charity or non-profit organization.

i think that some of the problems described by the missions are systemic to deeper problems in the world. thus, some of the solutions developed in Urgent Evoke are only a bandage; we must seek the HEART of these problems. for example, money flowing between government, media and corporations in legalized bribery and back-alley deals result in agendas that widen the gap between the richest and poorest. the USA government has given billions of dollars to the very people and corporations whose unethical practices let to the current collapse here. multimillionaire executives and investors get to walk away with more millions of dollars, while millions of people without jobs or health care pay the taxes that funded this bailout.

another one of my criticisms of Urgent Evoke, which also happens to be a known criticism of the World Bank, is in the emphasis on the poor and socially discriminated to have to pull themselves out of their problems. just as much focus should be placed on how to dismantle the deeper systems of discrimination and control put in place by the greedy and self-serving. i believe these include pure capitalism and pure democracy, which devolve into social Darwinism.

in addition, the World Bank has skeletons in its closet, including practices that were proven to hurt economies and intimidation of critics:

for example: they, along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), tried to prevent the publication of a study that linked capitalism and specific WB/IMF projects with the spread of AIDS in developing countries.

here is a short list of some of my favorite charities, social activism groups and non-profit organizations to examine for yourselves:

Amnesty International - http://www.amnesty.org/
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) - http://www.msf.org/
international LGBT PRIDE organizations - http://www.interpride.org/
Child's Play Charity - http://childsplaycharity.org/
Brave New Foundation - http://www.bravenewfoundation.org/

(by the way, i support, but do not work for or get any kind of compensation from any of these. these are the ones that i give to regularly and volunteer for)

some of the best tools we have are skepticism and criticism. remember, seek the TRUTH!

Views: 24

Comment by Ethan Walden on April 8, 2010 at 2:44pm
"skeletons in its closet"? You couldn't fit that many skeletons in any closet.
Comment by Reema on April 8, 2010 at 2:50pm
The only argument I would have would be based on TOMS shoes. They are a for profit company, but it is for the better. It is what also them to remain sustainable. :)

Thanks for this though. It is nice to hear some criticisms once in a while! I've actually been reading quite a bit about capitalism and arguments against capitalism in my social philosophy class, so maybe I will share my findings here :) Thanks for the spark!
Comment by Reema on April 8, 2010 at 2:53pm
Comment by Ethan Walden on April 8, 2010 at 2:55pm
Toms shoes is closer t NonProfit than to Profit, although it is an ambiguous case,
in either case "Non Profit" ironically, doesn't mean that there is no profits, money made,
salaries paid, etc, it only means that after everything is paid, the remainder doesn't go to stock holders, or to the owner, it is applied towards furthering the purpose of the corporation,
that because of being non profit, it's not making profits but helping the community in some way.
Comment by nomadHAR on April 8, 2010 at 3:01pm
perhaps you might also be interested in my blog post that focuses on capitalism:


i welcome and appreciate any and all of your thoughts and criticisms.
Comment by Michele Baron on April 8, 2010 at 3:05pm
thank you for the interesting post and links.
Comment by Reema on April 8, 2010 at 3:17pm
@Walden: That's true, but I'd fathom a guess that there is a lower burnout for TOMS than non-profits =P And TOMS is still a private company...though I don't know how long that will last.
Comment by Shakwei Mbindyo on April 8, 2010 at 3:20pm
+1 courage. Much of what you have written about bretton woods instituitons is valid. Caution is advisable when entiring into an sort or monetary (and even non-monetary) agreements. I believe there is a place for both social innovation and volunteerism. Money can and does make difference. But as Mother Teresa said, we need more than money, we need Love. Social innovations done with love may be the silver bullet to many social challenges.
Comment by Yumna Moosa on April 8, 2010 at 3:49pm
Thank you for raising this.

I've had similar concerns about Urgent Evoke as a social project. (As opposed to Urgent Evoke as a game, I mean...)

However, the dilemma facing many charities and NPOs at the moment is that they depend on donor funding anyway. So the money simply comes from somebody else's entrepreneurial/capitalist ventures. I wrote a blog along these lines...

Anyway, the way I see it:

Social entrepreneurship = charity/NPO + generating income to sustain afore-mentioned activities in an ethical way


Getting poor people to be entrepreneurs and make money and get themselves out of poverty.
Comment by nomadHAR on April 8, 2010 at 3:57pm
@Shakeri Mbindyo: thank you for mentioning LOVE, i think i have neglected to actually state that word directly so far. i hope that a lot of different things i have said on Urgent Evoke reveal that human compassion is my driving passion (#2 is TRUTH).

the idea of mentioning a financial return for social activism is disgusting to me. it is one thing to want to run a charity or NGO in an efficient and stable manner; quite another to focus on the profit margin.

i am not convinced that the World Bank has truly honorable motivations, even thought the people hired to create and run Urgent Evoke seem to be genuine. i still believe that Urgent Evoke can be used as a tool of good, that grows well beyond the control of any small group of people.


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