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View Diary: Microcredit: be a Venture Capitalist. (185 comments)

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  •  As someone who works for an organization (none)
    that provides micro loans in the US and has spent over twenty years working on making credit available for the underserved, I would laugh off your comments and move on, if they didn't illustrate a big problem that we progressives have in the blogosphere.  

    If you follow my comments through this diary you will see that I support the idea of micro-lending; what I objected to was the exaggeration and gullibility about what was being portrayed as a  new idea. About 30 years ago Grameen Bank pioneered the concepts that Kiva seems to be building on. Almost 4 million of Bangladesh's 150 million people are active borrowers from Grameen Bank. 95% of those borrowers are women and they represent the most rural, poorest people in Bangladesh.

    Yet I doubt that few of even the most passionate supporters of Grameen would claim that microlending is one of the most important economic forces in Bangladesh, when compared to education, trade policies and other macroeconomic forces. Grameen has done excellent sustained work that has reached a significant portion of the country's population and yet Bangladesh remains one of the poorest countries in the world.

    In contrast to Grameen with a proven track record, an independent board of directors, audited financials statements that any one can look at, Kiva is not yet incorporated, nor does it have 501 (c) 3 status, or any indication of who the board of directors are; just a good web site and some compelling stories. In addition Kiva's tweak on the Grameen model raises questions about whether this is really a sustainable effort, or one that will quickly fade away once they stop being able to attact new donor/lenders.  That's OK because everybody has to start somewhere and innovation helps us learn.

    But we're in serious trouble if the comments on this diary are a fair representation of the blogger world's knowledge base on these issues, their historical sense and their ability to do critical thinking. Then we're doomed to watch bloggers with the attention span of rabbits lurch around chasing the latest fads instead of building and developing a solid movement with real historically rooted political and economic skills.

    "The more they spoke of honor, the more I checked my wallet."

    by bankbane on Sat Oct 29, 2005 at 06:11:47 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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