|more on micro-lending/micro-credit
||[Oct. 14th, 2006|11:45 am]
where working class & poor women kick ass.
A great coincidence that my post a couple of days ago about micro-lending was followed a day later by the announcement that Muhammad Yunus, the creator of Grameen Bank, was chosen as the recipient of this year's Nobel Peace prize. |
video overview from cbc.ca:
There are several excellent readings available online about the Grameen Bank, which outline the basic economics as well as the individual, community & nation-wide impacts of Grameen. Grameen faces criticism from left/nonprofit communities that its interest rates are too high but also criticism & pressure from business/banking communities that Grameen interest rates are too low. (Reducing the wealth that flows to destitute & poor borrowers to the absolute minimum is, according to this development economist, simply realizing "there is room for greater economy measures".
My feeling is that it is innovative model & helpful resource. It provides poor folks with choice & opportunity. The ability to access private capital does not solve all the issues facing poor people, but Grameen has demonstrated how simple access to capital can raise income levels & provide economic stability for folks. It needs, obviously, to be accompanied by government support to infrastructure, employment opportunities, etc--things that tiny personal loans can't solve.
I also believe him when he argues that market-rate loans for poor folks is about creating Grameens that are independent of foreign "aid" & government tampering. Grameen is self-sustaining & operates with very modest profits by banking/business standards (and profits go to the shareholders, who are in fact the borrowers, so...). Which is pretty amazing. It almost seems as if Grameen is NOT a way to indebt people or steal assets. It almost seems as if it does build community, stability & confidence. A business model that seems to emphasize empowerment & sustainability over exploitation.
Thus the Nobel Peace prize, I guess.
Not to even mention that it lends, by design, almost exclusively to women. Not to mention the community building that is part of the structure. Not to mention the beggars loans. Not to mention the scholarships for girls. & on & on.
Plus, not to mention that in awarding the peace prize to Yunus & his work, the Nobel committee acknowledged that ending poverty is central to building peace--"attack the causes of poverty and you remove the roots of conflict". Which is an acknowledgement, I think, that creating shortage & poverty is a way to create instability, fear, conflict & violence.
xposted to johnnydtractive, womenandpoverty.