The Rise and Fall of Global Microcredit

The Rise and Fall of Global Microcredit : Development, debt and disillusion

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In the mid-1980s the international development community helped launch what was to quickly become one of the most popular poverty reduction and local economic development policies of all time. Microcredit, the system of disbursing tiny micro-loans to the poor to help them to establish their own income-generating activities, was initially highly praised and some were even led to believe that it would end poverty as we know it. But in recent years the microcredit model has been subject to growing scrutiny and often intense criticism. The Rise and Fall of Global Microcredit shines a light on many of the fundamental problems surrounding microcredit, in particular, the short- and long-term impacts of dramatically rising levels of microdebt.

Developed in collaboration with UNCTAD, this book covers the general policy implications of adverse microcredit impacts, as well as gathering together country-specific case studies from around the world to illustrate the real dynamics, incentives and end results. Lively and provocative, The Rise and Fall of Global Microcredit is an accessible guide for students, academics, policymakers and development professionals alike.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 290 pages
  • 159 x 235 x 25.4mm | 567g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 11 Line drawings, black and white; 9 Tables, black and white; 11 Illustrations, black and white
  • 1138714089
  • 9781138714083

Table of contents




Notes on contributors

Part I: An overview


Milford Bateman, Stephanie Blankenburg and Richard Kozul-Wright

Development prospects in an era of financialization

Richard Kozul-Wright

Microcredit and development

Milford Bateman

Part II: Country case studies

Looking through the glass, darkly: Microcredit in Peru

Matthew Bird

Brazil - Latin America's unsung hero

Fernanda Feil and Andrej Slivnik

Colombia: A critical look

Daniel Munevar

Mexico and the microcredit model

Eugenia Correa and Laura Vidal

Sustainability paradigm to paradox: a study of microfinance clients' livelihoods in Bangladesh

Mathilde Maitrot

Cambodia - the next domino to fall?

Milford Bateman

The instability of commercial microcredit: Understanding the Indian crisis with Minsky

Philip Mader

11. Collective resistances to microcredit in Morocco

Solene Morvant-Roux and Jean-Yves Moisseron

12. Microcredit as post-apartheid South Africa's own US-style sub-prime crisis

Milford Bateman

Part III: Policy implications

13. Financing development in the global economy post-2015: An alternative agenda

Stephanie Blankenburg

14. Conclusion

Milford Bateman, Stephanie Blankenburg and Richard Kozul-Wright
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Review quote

"This book provides a definitive, and much-needed, assessment of the microcredit movement: from the overselling of its modest initial promise, to its conversion into a new method of exploiting vulnerable people and communities, and to its misconceived embrace by global leaders and institutions. What cements this book's importance for development policy and practice is that its critique is accompanied by an affirmation of the role of productive, accessible financing in sustainable development." -- Gary Dymski, Professor of Applied Economics, Leeds University Business School, UK

"This is a must-read book to understand the financialisation of the poor from the perspective of the global microcredit industry. The Post-2015 Agenda, supporting financial and digital inclusion to achieve development and to end with poverty, hides the profit obtained by microcredit institutions when granting credit to small entrepreneurs and to those with fewer resources. The problem with indebtedness and lack of payment of loans affects the poor, causing greater debt in crisis and recession periods. This provides important evidence and insight into what went wrong with microcredit." -- Alicia Giron, University Program of Asian and African Studies, UNAM, Mexico

"This unfailingly courageous and carefully researched book shatters the mythology around the microcredit myth that has captured the imagination and funding of the global development industry for far too long. It shines a bright light on the links between microcredit and rising indebtedness and financialised, rentier capitalism. Microcredit boosters take heed!" -- Ilene Grabel, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, USA

"This book provides the inconvenient truth about how market-based mechanisms are far from panaceas for today's development problems. With rigorous detail, the volume parades through case after case of failed micro-credit ventures in country after country-even in Peru the `center of origin' for many of the financialization of the poor [this] has more often than not led to yet another case of the further transfer of wealth and power from the poor." -- Kevin P. Gallagher, Director at the Global Development Policy Center, Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University, USA
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About Milford Bateman

Milford Bateman, Visiting Professor of Economics, Juraj Dobrila at Pula University, Croatia, and Adjunct Professor of Development Studies, St Mary's University, Halifax, Canada.

Stephanie Blankenburg is Head of the Debt and Development Finance Branch, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, UNCTAD.

Richard Kozul-Wright is Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, UNCTAD.
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