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The International Writers Magazine

The Poor Always Pay Back: The Grameen II Story (Paperback)
by Asif Dowla & Dipal Barua

Capitalism for the Poor: Credit as a Human Right
"Credit is so important in the lives of all people that I have been arguing that credit should be accepted as a human right." - Muhammad Yunus

Ginette Ballard

Muhammad Yunus’ stance on economics and capitalism shakes the traditional role of capitalism to its very foundation; he is the winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the Grameen Bank. His views on the extirpation of poverty are progressive if not radical. However, his methods seem to be doing the job.

‘Grameen Bank (GB) has reversed conventional banking practice by removing the need for collateral and creating a banking system based on mutual trust, accountability, participation and creativity. GB is a cost effective weapon to fight poverty and it serves as a catalyst in the over all development of socio-economic conditions of the poor who have been kept outside the banking orbit on the grounds that they are unbankable.’ (Excerpt from Muhammas Yunus’ web-site

The evolution of Grameen Bank (Grameen means ‘rural’ or ‘village’ in Bangla language) began with a project initiated by Yunus back in 1976. The idea was to catechize the possibility of designing a credit delivery system to provide banking services focused on the poor with the following objectives:
-extend banking facilities to poor men and women.
-eliminate the exploitation of the poor by money lenders
-create opportunities for self-employment for the vast multitudes of the unemployed in rural Bangladesh
-bring the disadvantaged, mostly women from the poorest households, within the fold of an organizational format which they can understand and manage by themselves
-reverse the age-old vicious circle of ‘low income, low saving and low investment’ into a virtuous circle of ‘low income, injection of credit, more income, more savings, more investment, more income’

The very idea that the poor should or even can be helped is one that doesn’t digest easily when first taken in; we have become so accustomed to the capitalist propaganda that has been fed to us since birth it’s difficult to comprehend anything else. Yunus challenges the status quo from multiple dimensions and directions; his insistence that the eradication of poverty is actually a simple task, that the institutions and the policy-makers have created poverty which goes against the usual ‘poverty is created by the poor’, and the posture that
with opportunities created by the state the poor can get themselves out of a life of poverty, name a few. In other words, a lack of opportunities for earning income is the direct cause of poverty.

Grameen is a bank for the poor, it is owned by the poor, and it operates with their own money. It makes a profit, it provides insurance support to them, and it provides financial incentives for the education of their children. Over 90% of Grameen’s borrowers are women, as a result these women have become more independent, raised their social status, and improved their homes and the nutritional standards of their children. Despite the thought that the poor would not be in a position to repay their loans, they have. In fact repayment rates have reached 97%.
If that isn’t capitalism at its most successful, I’m not sure what the definition of success is.

Grameen Bank's positive impact on its poor and formerly poor borrowers has been documented in many independent studies carried out by external agencies including the World Bank, the International Food Research Policy Institute (IFPRI) and the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).
All information, much of which is copied verbatim, was taken from the web-site:
Please show your support by visiting his site and spreading the news that you have found a capitalist who isn’t a pig! Or buy the book 'The Poor Always Pay Back' and explore in depth all that he has achieved - so far.

Ginette Ballard March 2007>

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