This video from the USA says about itself:
This is an extract of a debate on microcredit broadcasted by Democracy Now! on 13 December between Susan Davis, founder and chair of the Grameen Foundation, and Vandana Shiva. The occasion was the acceptance of the Nobel Peace price acceptance speech made by the founder of Grameen Bank Muhammad Yunus. The debate is not only informative but enlightening of the gap we have to overcome in our critical discourses.
From Women’s eNews in the USA:
Microcredit Skeptics Deserve a Turn in the Limelight
By Corinna Barnard
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Bad news came this week for shareholders of India’s largest microlender. That offers a chance to tout two writers who always said high interest rates–of 20 percent and higher–were never the best news for the world’s poorest female borrowers.
Both are part of Women’s eNews’ loose-knit editorial team. Both took issue with the generally bullish outlook on microfinance as a means of ending–or even curbing–female poverty that prevailed for many years.
Around now both writers, in the wake of all the troubles surrounding microfinance, could and should be saying “I told you so.” Since they’re not, I’d like to do that for them.
Crossette is an author with extensive experience covering the United Nations, including a long career for The New York Times. She has written for Women’s eNews and serves us with occasional editorial guidance. Eight or so years ago she gave us a tip about covering microfinance or microcredit that became our ironclad rule: “Ask about the interest rates.”
That information was not at the top of microfinanciers’ press kits. When Women’s eNews’ reporters asked the question the answer they got was startling: a common range of between 20 percent and 50 percent. Wow.
When I told people about those rates their eyes often widened in horror. They’d picked up on the “women’s empowerment” virtues of microfinance and had a hard time believing it was true. Why so much higher than the 6 percent or 8 percent paid by middle-class U.S. borrowers?
“Microcredit”, a new form of financing aimed at getting the poor out of poverty, is being blamed for a spate of suicides in India. Many borrowers say lenders have forgotten the good intentions that were behind the microfinance concept. Instead of helping them to set themselves up with a small businesses, lenders are increasingly harassing them to pay the money back – and in many cases, leading to tragic consequences. Video here.
Bangladesh’s once-legendary banking environment is now fatally polluted. The rot is spreading so fast and far that the entire global microfinance industry is threatened. Controversy ranges far beyond poisonous local politics, the factor most often cited by those despondent about Grameen Bank’s worsening crisis: here.
While the founder of the micro-credit bank in Bangladesh was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, micro-finance is bringing investors fantastic returns and death and destruction to the world’s poor: here.
Book Review: Why the “Green Revolution” Was Not So Green After All: here.