Thursday, May 17, 2007

Loans that change lives

I think this is a great way to help people. http://www.kiva.org/

4 comments:

t said...

Dear umc,

I love kiva too. I haven't used it yet, but when I heard about it, I thought it should be a hugely popular idea and was a little disappointed to find it so "small" - only about 100 borrowers at a time. Luckily, I had it wrong, since that's just the number of loans currently being fulfilled and the total number of loans so far is in the tens of thousands.

Then I read the Yunus book, one of the most significant books I've read. It's titled Banker to the Poor and lays out not just a philosophy but a system that works in developing people and economies. Makes so much sense, this microcredit idea. I've been delighted to find that microcredit isn't just kiva, it's a greater revolution which has directly impacted millions of borrowers already.

I'm going to invite a couple of friends who have worked in microcredit to chat here VERY soon.

In general, microcredit represents such an elegant solution to a social problem, and it's inspiring from that perspective.

you're not cooks, you're artists
- Prof. Ralph B. Turner (1997, in Calculus class at Howard)

Nothing against cooks, the best cooks are artists too.

t said...

One of the things I wish I had was an expert, very short, and potentially popular statement on giving (aid, charity, philantrophy, maybe including tax.) :

Who should give, for what purpose(s), to whom...basically how should one give, because with motivation and clear direction people will give more.

I'm not sure of the answers myself, but the outline of my thoughts on this is everyone should give, there should never be forced giving, there should be a very well known suggested number (percentage-wise) to guide giving but I don't specify of what (a company's sales or profits, a non-profits receipts, a person's total income or just wages, a child's allowance are just examples and it may be well to leave it undefined.)

Again, it must never be enforced.

To whom should all these sources give? the poorest 1% - how? their nearest neighbour - again how to do the most good for your neighbour with the gift? a charity organisation - how do you check who does something you want to support? Philosophically, answers come from all over - religious and political writings for instance. MICROCREDIT seems to get in there and give brilliant answers to all these.

I think taxes suck, usually, but if taxes are levied, what are good taxes - for war and "defense?" to support tax-collection bureaucracies? to strengthen "nations" i.e. their symbols, boundaries, and defense...I mean defense is important but so is freedom and happiness.

These ideas are under development, obviously, will shade them in over time. Cheers.

t said...

From Randolph Bourne, "War is the Health of the State" (1918):

With the shock of war . . . the State comes into its own again.

The Government, with no mandate from the people, without consultation of the people, conducts all the negotiations, the backing and filling, the menaces and explanations, which slowly bring it into collision with some other Government, and gently and irresistibly slides the country into war.

For the benefit of proud and haughty citizens, it is fortified with a list of the intolerable insults which have been hurled toward us by the other nations; for the benefit of the liberal and beneficent, it has a convincing set of moral purposes which our going to war will achieve; for the ambitious and aggressive classes, it can gently whisper of a bigger role in the destiny of the world.

The result is that, even in those countries where the business of declaring war is theoretically in the hands of representatives of the people, no legislature has ever been known to decline the request of an Executive, which has conducted all foreign affairs in utter privacy and irresponsibility, that it order the nation into battle.

Good democrats are wont to feel the crucial difference between a State in which the popular Parliament or Congress declares war, and the State in which an absolute monarch or ruling class declares war. But, put to the stern pragmatic test, the difference is not striking.

In the freest of republics as well as in the most tyrannical of empires, all foreign policy, the diplomatic negotiations which produce or forestall war, are equally the private property of the Executive part of the Government, and are equally exposed to no check whatever from popular bodies, or the people voting as a mass themselves.

...Thanks, Erik

t said...

Read here a report by one Kiva donor/investor.
...Nice thing to do.

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