Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Novel idea: Lending money to poor folks

I heard a most interesting broadcast on public radio today by Nobel Peace Prize Forum keynote speaker Muhammad Yunus.  You can view his talk on the web, Nobel Peace Prize Forum.  His portion of the presentation starts around 48:00 minutes into the forum.

First and foremost he raised the question, why is it that banks  mostly loan money to wealthy men? Pretty strange isn't it?  Kind of reminds me of all the numerous credit card offers we get that we don't need. After the great financial meltdown, where bankers and investment 'professionals' were buying and selling financial derivatives that even they didn't understand, I don't think that they are more trustworthy than people of lesser financial means.  Greedier, yes, more trustworthy, no.

The bank he founded in India provides collateral free loans to the poor, mainly women in rural Bangladesh.  Mr. Yunus is the founder of microcredit and social business and more than 50 companies in Bangladesh.

He responded to the question of why poverty? Poverty isn't created by poor people, but rather it is imposed by outside. He observed that too many poor folks are limited by their access to resources, much like Bonsai trees don't grow large because of their constricted pot and soil.  Poor people are like Bonsai people.  We should pity the society which constricts growth for all of its members.

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