Very little solid evidence exists that microloans make a dent in long-term poverty. Sadly, evidence does exist for negligence, corruption, and methods that border on extortion. Part exposé, part memoir, and part financial detective story, this is the account of a one-time true believer whose decade in the industry turned him into a heretic.
Hugh Sinclair worked with several microfinance institutions around the world. He couldn’t help but notice that even with a booming $70 billion industry on their side, the poor didn’t seem any better off. Exorbitant interest rates led borrowers into never-ending debt spirals, and aggressive collection practices resulted in cases of forced prostitution, child labor, suicide, and nationwide revolts against the microfinance community.
Sinclair weaves a shocking tale of a system increasingly focused on maximizing profits—particularly once large banks got involved. He details his discovery of several scandals, one of the most disturbing involving a large African microfinance institution of questionable legality that charged interest rates in excess of 100 percent per year, and whose investors and supporters included some of the most celebrated leaders of the microfinance sector. Sinclair’s objections were first met with silence, then threats, attempted bribery, and a court case, and eventually led him to become a principle whistleblower in a sector that had lost its soul.
Microfinance can work—Sinclair describes moving experiences with several ethical and effective organizations and explains what made them different. But without the fundamental reforms that Sinclair recommends here, microfinance will remain an “investment opportunity” that will leave the poor with hollow promises and empty pockets.
Stimmen zum Buch:
[...] This book is therefore most important for three reasons. First, it prompts a long-overdue questioning of whether the solution for poverty can actually be found in giving people more debt through an extension of Wall Street-style finance into the slums and villages of the Global South. Second, the book’s critique may help to root out the bad players in microfinance, for whom social impacts are mere advertising stratagems, while making a quick buck on the backs of poor people is the bottom line. Third and finally, it offers some actual solutions beyond rhetoric and promises. [...]"
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1 Thou Shalt Not Criticize Microfinance 1
2 Baptism in Mexico ^ 15
3 Bob Dylan and I in Mozambique 29
4 Another Mozambican Civil War 55
5 The "Developed" World 69
6 Something Not Quite Right in Nigeria 83
7 Something Not Quite Right in Holland 107
8 In Front of the Judge 125
9 Rustling Dutch Feathers 135
10 Blowing the Whistle from Mongolia 149
11 Enter the New York Times 167
12 Collapse, Suicide, and Muhammad' Yunus 193
13 The Good, the Bad, and the Poor 215
Appendix: Microfinance Economics 101 239