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Microfinance Meets the Market

Jun 03, 2008
The World Bank isn't among our favorite organizations, but they released a report on microfinance last month, and since we'll be talking more about this subject in future posts, I decided to note it.

Among the report's most important conclusions is that microfinance—small business loans to mostly poor, mostly third world, mostly female borrowers—is actually an effective and successful program, whether pursued by non-profit or for-profit institutions.

They take a few expected shots at microfinance ("the evidence lags far behind some of the rhetoric on the potential for microfinance to reduce poverty") and opine that microfinance will never be an attractive investment for those for whom maximizing profit is the first or only consideration.

But isn't that the point? Isn't that what we have to get away from in this world? Not the concept of profit (though there are those who would disagree with me on that), but of maximizing profit at any cost—to human beings, to the environment, to the future. It simply doesn't work anymore. And, in retrospect, it ought never to have been condoned as a legitimate feature of capitalism in the first place.
tags: Economics | Microfinance

Go to Report (.pdf)

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