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  #21  
Old 05-11-2007, 05:03 PM
lisamaria's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little_star
What's lightweight about microcredit? It's an incredibly important issue in the developing world and has helped change the lives of millions of people.
Lightweight may be a wrong word, I admit. But I just am quite skeptical about microcredits in general (and I don't aim my attitude in any person particularly), and here are some reasons why I don't put them on top of my list.

There is a multitude of problems involved in the scheme, most notably that it is business - charitable business, yes, but still business. The numbers used to promote the credits don't necessarily reflect the success rate - poor people with very small business ventures often become dependant on the bank (Grameen has a particularly high amount of 2nd/3rd/4th/...th time borrowers), rather than gaining financial independence. Failure to repay the loan leaves them worse off than they were.

Many studies also suggest that women often act simply as loan collectors for men, taking the loan in their own name while their husbands/sons get the money; those women also are solely responsible for paying back money that did nothing to benefit them in the first place. Many of the companies giving out loans operate in countries where women's position is decidedly bad; they claim to improve that position but in reality women are very much unprotected by the surrounding society and it's attitudes.

Also, in poor countries, where public services are still developing, microcredits can motivate local officials to cut money from health care and education, especially girls' education. Lack of education is, as we know, the main reason why women (and all people, for that matter) in the developing world are struggling. If they cannot read and do calculus, they cannot properly take care of their own interests, and can be taken advantage of by, for example, one of the about 10 000 organisations handing out small loans. I could keep going (indefinetely) about the advantages of education but that is another matter

I'm sure well-educated people with a real desire to help and develope the society can advance things through this scheme; as yet, I feel, it still hasn't shown to really change things in large scale.
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  #22  
Old 05-14-2007, 02:44 PM
Little_star's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lisamaria
Lightweight may be a wrong word, I admit. But I just am quite skeptical about microcredits in general (and I don't aim my attitude in any person particularly), and here are some reasons why I don't put them on top of my list.

There is a multitude of problems involved in the scheme, most notably that it is business - charitable business, yes, but still business. The numbers used to promote the credits don't necessarily reflect the success rate - poor people with very small business ventures often become dependant on the bank
(Grameen has a particularly high amount of 2nd/3rd/4th/...th time borrowers), rather than gaining financial independence. Failure to repay the loan leaves them worse off than they were.
I can recall hearing recently that Grameen has something like a 90% success rate. Approximately that number of women who take out their first loan will pay it back in full. As for additional loans, many businesses will take out more than one loan in order to succeed, expand etc.

It's interesting because you seem to be viewing the idea that a business venture as a negative , or at least that's the way I interpreted your post. However, I actually think that's preferable to a charitable handout or donation because it promotes long-term gorwth and self-sufficiency.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisamaria
Many studies also suggest that women often act simply as loan collectors for men, taking the loan in their own name while their husbands/sons get the money; those women also are solely responsible for paying back money that did nothing to benefit them in the first place. Many of the companies giving out loans operate in countries where women's position is decidedly bad; they claim to improve that position but in reality women are very much unprotected by the surrounding society and it's attitudes.
I have to admit I haven't heard of this problem, although it would not surrpise me. However, to give you a real example, my grandmother's tailor took out a loan with an institution in Pakistan to expand her business. Since then she's never looked back, she now employs 5 other female tailors who are able to supoport their families in the long run. Without the financial help she would never have been able to do this. More importantly though she left her husband who was abusive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisamaria
Also, in poor countries, where public services are still developing, microcredits can motivate local officials to cut money from health care and education, especially girls' education. Lack of education is, as we know, the main reason why women (and all people, for that matter) in the developing world are struggling. If they cannot read and do calculus, they cannot properly take care of their own interests, and can be taken advantage of by, for example, one of the about 10 000 organisations handing out small loans. I could keep going (indefinetely) about the advantages of education but that is another matter
Don't worry, I'm a firm believer in the importance of education as well. To use Pakistan as an example again, microfinance is growing in popularity yet the government is investing millions in education, particularly female education. I don't think one necessarily excludes the other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisamaria
I'm sure well-educated people with a real desire to help and develope the society can advance things through this scheme; as yet, I feel, it still hasn't shown to really change things in large scale.
It's still a "new" concept though and it will take time. Most of the results are more long-term, not necessarily visible in the short-term.
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  #23  
Old 05-17-2007, 01:57 AM
Penny Lane's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanesa
Priority today is to support something against social exclusion. I wish some of the Royals could work for the unity of the family, and the improvement of the education...oh, and of course they could also support any organization who cares about homeless or people lossing their jobs. These are our forgotten people. Royal must think about them.

Vanesa.
I agree with this I know the homless and displaced are not the most 'glam' of causes but they are of great importance .I know Princess Dian had a foundation for the homeless and I think Prince Willam has carried on with it but I would like to see more of that.Connnected to that I would like to see more come out for an end to hunger.I too would like to see more about the enviorment and animal causes.Another cause I have alot of admiration for is animal assitence-animals traine to help people with disablities.It's done alot in the U.S. I don't know how common it is world wide.I also like to see music,the ars and the performing arts supported.
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