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.