MICRO-LENDING: Part of the solution or part of the problem? A radical critique.
One of the key prescriptions promoted by the IMF, scholars like Jeffrey Sachs, and public figures like Bill Gates and Bono for ending global poverty and promoting women’s empowerment is micro-lending. This talk will challenge this idea and contribute to a much-needed dialogue and debate.
Is there any actual evidence that microloans lift people out of poverty in Third World countries? Do micro-loans empower women, or chain them further to relations of dependency? And in what ways has micro-lending actually reinforced patriarchy—for instance in the market for dowries, or in incidence of domestic violence. How does a poor corn farmer in Mexico using ‘micro-credit’ compete with giant U.S. agro-firms with their ‘mega-credit”? Micro-lending has been used as a pretext to cut government social expenditures and promote ideologies of 'personal responsibility.'
The experience of micro-lending poses the question of whether capitalist market mechanisms can be used to serve social need—or whether a whole other organization of society and economy is needed.
The presentation will offer a communist critique of micro-lending. We welcome viewpoints and arguments in support of micro-lending into the discussion.