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Technology & Innovation

The Crisis of Microfinance

Nonprofit models of microfinance cannot attract substantial capital, but commercialized microfinance seems increasingly unlikely to have substantial social benefits.

The evidence for the efficacy of microfinance in stimulating production and alleviating poverty is so far anecdotal rather than systematic. The idea of borrowing one’s way out of poverty is passing strange. And I am unaware of any historical examples of nations that climbed out of poverty on the backs of small entrepreneurs financed by credit. The Grameen Bank has a surprisingly low default rate and it does not have written loan agreements and does not sue defaulters or invoke other legal remedies against them.


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