Quotes from Mohammed Yunus on Global Poverty and Micro finance
Yunus on the Problem of Global Poverty
None of us like the idea of aparteid. We object when we hear about such a system in any form, anywhere. We all understand that no one should suffer because he or she happened to be born in a certain race, class, or economic condition. But our financial institutions have created a worldwide system of aparteid without anyone being horrified by it. If you don’t have collateral, you are not credit-worthy. To the banks, you are not acceptable on our side of the world.
Imagine if the global economic communications system of the banking world suddenly collapses and every financial institution in the world stopped functioning. Banks everywhere would shut their doors. ATM screens would go blank. Credit and debit would no longer work. And billions of families would be unable even to put grociers on the table. Well, this is exactly the situation that half the world’s population lives with every day–a non-stop horror story.
If the poor are to get a chance to life themselves out of poverty, it’s up to us to remove the institutional barriers we’ve created around them. We must remove the absurd rules and laws we have made that treat the poor as minorities. And we must come up with new ways to recognize a person by his or her own worth, not by artificially measuring sticks imposed by a biased system.
Yunus on Cell Phones, Agricultural Development, and Farmers
Imagine being a farmer in a remote village. Before the advent of the cell phone, you had no way of knowing what price was being paid for crops on the market in Dhaka or any other big city. There was no way to talk with suppliers of tools or equipment, such as a new irrigation pump, to compare prices or negotiate a delivery rate. Your only choice was to walk or ride to the nearest marketplace, which might be miles away, and accept whatever price you were offered there, with no questions asked.
Today, the farmer with access to a cell phone can comparison shop and check fluctuating prices with a few quick calls, putting himself in a far better position to demand a fair deal from the local merchant or middleman. Information is power, and the cell phone revolution is putting a little of that power in the hands of the rural poor.
Yunus on Poverty and Human Rights
Thus, poverty doesn’t only condemn humans to lives of difficulty and unhappiness; it can expose them to life-threatening dangers. Because poverty denies people any semblance of control over their destiny, it is the ultimate denial of human rights. When freedom of speech or religion is violated in this country or that, global protests are often mobilized in response. Yet when poverty violates the human rights of half the world’s population, most of us turn our heads away and get on with our lives.
For the same reason, poverty is perhaps the most serious threat to world peace, even more dangerous than terrorism, religious fundamentalism, ethnic hatred, political rivalries, or any of the other forces that are often cited as promoting violence and war. Poverty leads to hopelessness, which provokes people to desperate acts.
Those with practically nothing have no good reason to refrain from violence, since even acts with only a small chance of improving their conditions seem better than doing nothing and accepting their fate with passivity. Poverty also creates economic refugees, leading to clashed between populations. It leads to bitter conflicts between peoples, clans, and nations over scarce resources–water, arable land, energy supplies, and any saleable commodity. Prosperous nations that trade with one another and devote their energies to economic growth rarely go to war with one another; nations whose people are brutalized by poverty find it easy to resort to war.
Yunus on Profit Maximization and Social Impact
The urge to consume without regard to the long-term social costs is a natural, even inevitable outgrowth of the breakneck quest for profit maximization. When we put profit first, we forget about the environment, we forget about public health, we forget about sustainability…In this mad rush for profit maximization, what gets lost is environmental quality, long term sustainability, and even the health of individual consumers.
Yunus on Traditional Capitalism and Materialism
Today the marketplace is dominated by voices of traditional capitalism. Many of these voices speak on behalf of corporations, urging consumers through advertising, marketing, publicity, and consumption-oriented media (such as magazines devoted to cars, fashion, home decorating, and vacations) to buy more goods and services as quickly as they can. The sole messages are: Buy More! Buy More! Buy More! And Buy Now! Buy Now! Buy Now! And we wonder why so many people often feel their lived have been less than fully satisfying.
What it Means to Move People Out of Poverty by Changing Lives:
First of all, effective anti-poverty programs must start with a clear operational definition of poverty. In order to recognize those whom the program is designed to help, they must be defined by clear decisions rules that will exclude the non-poor and keep them from siphoning off resources that the poor desperately need…
1) The bank membet and he family live in a tin-roofed house or in a house worth at least 25,000 taka (roughly $370). The family members sleep on cots or a bedstead rather than the floor.
2) The member and he family drink pure water from tube-wells, boiled water, or arsenic-free water purified by the use of alum, purifying tablets, or pitcher filters.
3) All of the member’s children who are physically or mentally fir and above the age of six either attend or have finished primary school.
4) The member’s minimum weekly loan repayment installment is 200 taka (around $3)
5) All family members use a hygenic and sanitary latrine.
6) All family membes have sufficient clothing to meet daily needs, including winter clothes, blankets, mosquito netting.
7) The family has additional sources of income, such as a vegetable garden or fruit-bearing trees, to fall back on in times of need.
8> The member maintains an average annual balance of 5,000 taka (around $75) in her savings account.
9) The member has the ability to feed her family three square meals a day throughout the year.
10) All family members are conscious about their health, can take immediate action for proper treatment, and can pay medical expenses in the event of illness.
Category: Payday loans