Thursday, September 03, 2009

The wisdom of Muhammad Yunus

Who is a banker who is more concerned with market solutions than with social justice. The solution to the current situation in the U.S. is...not progressive taxation or investment in jobs, but microlending. And partnering with big business to do it. Big business, for its part has not minded Grameen since it fundamentally doesn't challenge their power in poor countries.

from Commondreams"The failure of traditional banks to provide this kind of credit is a "big hole" in the American financial system where millions cannot open bank accounts [?], according to Yunus.

The global financial meltdown "has given us an opportunity to create a financial system that is more inclusive," said Yunus, who was in Bangkok to launch the Yunus Center in partnership with the Asian Institute of Technology, a university, aimed at poverty reduction in the region.

Yunus' latest project is advocating what he calls "social business," which combine altruism with business models to bring corporate efficiency and innovation to help the poor. The goal is to solve social issues and not to maximize profits.

But unlike charity which has no mechanism to regenerate its funding, the business must recover its full costs and recoup its investment.

Joining with multinational companies, Grameen has successfully launched a yogurt business, Grameen Danone, which provides malnourished children with a low-cost source of nutrition. Grameen Veolia has built several water treatment plants that provide clean drinking water to the poorest in Bangladesh, where some groundwater is contaminated by arsenic. BASF Grameen provides cheap treated mosquito nets to help prevent malaria."

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