No More Poor

The Boston Globe recently published an article in which they interviewed Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank.  If you don’t know about this guy, you should – he’s basically the inventor of microcredit, an investment of small loans to the poorest of the poor with no collateral or other guarantees.  Best of all, the whole model came about as a specific solution to the lone sharking going on in a place he was working in Bangladesh.  Such loan sharking is common in certain areas of Asia – The Inheritance of Loss, among other books, describes it quite well.  But with Yunus’ model, microcredit has also blossomed in these same areas.

What is most interesting to me is Yunus’ idea that people don’t have to be poor.  There’s a fundamental principle here that without the restrictions of education, income, politics, and class, everyone would be able to provide for themselves.  I’m not sure I believe that.  Sure, there are facets of economics I don’t understand.  But I don’t understand scarcity.  It’s possible that there’s enough food available to feed everyone in the world currently, even with population on the rise.  Even if it’s possible to redistribute such basic necessities, ultimately the world will have to run very differently for people to regularly have what they need.  Perhaps Yunus’ model of capitalism is the way to start.

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