Mohammad Yunus wasn't satisfied with the type of charity so common in today's world: throw money at the problem, feel good about ourselves, and move along quickly so we don't have to see the fact that our actions may have only made the problem worse.
Yunus's microcredit approach is about empowerment, not dependency. Small loans to the extremely poor enabled recipients to purchase weaving looms, material to make baskets, or carts to sell food. His greatest revelation was that the extremely poor were not incapable societal parasites. Rather, with a small amount of capital to get on their feet, these individuals created innovative businesses that ultimately supported themselves, their families, and education for their children.
The most interesting discovery is that the payback rate for the loans was higher than 98%--much better than the credit-worthy borrowers that normally attract the attention of the banks.
Yunus's ideas were inspiring. With his economics background, he emphasized that measurable results were more important than good intentions.
The story of the Grameen Bank is absolutely one of the best I have ever heard. Here is an actual solution to end poverty everywhere in the world that has worked already. I could not have been more excited after reading this book that we finally have the means to end poverty once and for all! I would recommend it to anyone who wants to actually get out there and do something!
Banking on the Poor
It is quite sad that Yunis discovered that extreme poverty in Bangladesh can be helped for as few as twenty seven dollars American and his work within Bangladesh should serve as a beacon of hope to others seeking to fight back against the poverty monster. I enjoyed this read very much but couldn't give it the full five stars because I didn't feel like there where enough personal success stories that illustrated the viability of microlending to the poor. Instead Yunis explains we lent x amount of money to y person and there able to do z now. Personal testimonials would've made for a powerful statement of the Grameen Bank programs rather than just explaining from Yunis.
A second thought is if these programs have met for so much success how come they haven't been exported in mass throughout the world ? Much of the book focuses on poorer rural areas like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, even several counties in the state of Arkansas in the United States. Are these programs ineffective in urban areas because of socio-economic factors? I currently live in a city of a 150,000 thousand people that may benefit from programs that Yunis is talking about, but yet there is scant evidence of implementation within inner cities. With economies crashing throughout the world, the impoverished cannot just be assumed to live in rural areas anymore. If we are to take Yunis ideas for battling world poverty seriously, these ideas have to be increasingly applied in inner cities.
The author defies all the commonsense reasoning of the affluent western world. He totally trusted the poorest of the poor to keep their word and pay their bills on time and to the amazement of the entire world they did.
My book club chose this book, and I anticipated it would be dry, academic and not particularly interesting. To my surprise and delight, it was a wonderful, exciting story of a dream fulfilled and people of no means given a chance for real success. I loved it.
This autobiography of Nobel Peace Prizewinner Muhammad Yunus spent ten weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and was also a Wall Street Journal bestseller. Now repackaged in the spirit of his new book, Creating a World Without Poverty, this classic work on the birth of microfinance will contain excerpts from the new book.