Saturday, February 11, 2006

"the economics of enough"

Today I was encouraged to hear that Chris Cuffe, the '33-Million Dollar Man' (so dubbed when he stepped-down as CEO of Colonial First State Investments with his 100% earned [no golden hand-shake] bonus), has decided to give up his lucrative day-job at the Packer family owned Challenger Investments. Instead of spending most of his time 'making rich people richer', he'll spend it working to provide the funds to lend very small amounts of money to the World's poor, so that they have the opportunity to bring themselves, their families and even their communities out of the poverty trap.

Check out Opportunity International's Announcement plus a few interesting insights from an article that appeared in the SMH on Saturday "From record payout to payback time".

Cuffe wants to "swap success to seek relevance"

Cuffe says it was a trip to Nepal in his early 20's which opened his eyes to the suffering of the poor in the developing world. Last year, a trip through tsunami-ravaged parts of India and a visit to Opportunity International projects in the Philippines fuelled a desire to contribute more.

Asked why he didn't continue to earn a seven-figure salary and simply give it away, Cuffe quotes Opportunity International Australia founder, David Bussau, and the "economics of enough": "I wanted to work for a place. I am not driven to earn more and more and accumulate more and more.

"I want to pursue other things in life that are different, and contributing intellectually to a group like OI is what is attractive to my type A character … if I'm not busy, I'm not happy. I don't want to sit on the sidelines."

Along the same lines of helping the poorest nations in the world, I was encouraged (and challenged) to read Bono's 'sermon' to Washington's National Prayer Breakfast this week - "It’s not about charity, it’s about justice" - definitely worth a read!