T Nation

Capitalism & Help for Fellow Man


A mission even the most cold-eyed capitalist and the most warm-and-fuzzy global citizen can agree upon: microfinance to the underdeveloped nations.

Check out Kiva.org:


Fantastic group of startups that wanted to create a "banking system" for small entrepreneurs in underdeveloped nations that otherwise have little or nor access to capital.

We enjoy great prosperity by virtue of the system of plentiful capital, private enterprise, and an entrepreneur-supporting market. If you think the way out of poverty is ownership, investment, and capital, put your money where your mouth is and be a "banker to the poor".


The word of the day is "microcredit" (or maybe "microfinance"). =-)

It got this Vanderbilt alum a Nobel Prize: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Yunus


I heard about this several years ago. They called them "microloans" back then. Like $400 - $500 dollar loans.


Interesting... kinda like prosper.com, except without the interest and me getting richer.

Just kidding.

Neat idea.


Yep, a sewing machine may well be what someone needs to be able to support her family.


A few years back, during a trek in the Atlas mountains, we crossed a village where an entrepreneur lady took a loan to buy a mobile phone. The village not being wired, the people used to walk dozens of miles to get to the nearest village with a public phone.

Now, they just pay a little premium to that lady to able to use the cell phone. I was really impressed by how little she needed to get started in business.

Things must have changed since then, but it's still an anecdote I'll remember for the rest of my life.


The men that developed this idea won Nobel Peace Prizes in 2006. Their names are Muhammed Yunus and Grameen Bank Bhavan, from Bangladesh.


That's crazy. I heard about micro loans back when I was in grad school.

It was used in Africa, I believe.

I have no idea what business opportunity has to do with a Peace Prize.


Rich business men typically do not want to do business with poor people--unless there is a huge profit to be made.

These two recognized this fact along with the fact that poor people are an untapped market; which still equates to a huge profit in terms of demand. Poor people still have needs and wants that need to be met but due to the scarcity of resources cannot meet their demands. Along comes a cheap loan:

The peace prize was awarded because it has been determined that these cheap loans are responsible for building prosperity for these people. Prosperity and peace are indistinguishable; for example, the US is a peaceable nation because there is a relatively large prosperous middle-class.


It's given the common person around the world the power to greatly impact the lives of others in a positive way. If the right recipients can be identified it can be life changing - spreading economic advancement from the ground up.


We established that it had nothing to do with peace in 1973.


You have your dates confused. Arafat got his in 1994.


Not bad. Only, let's hope they actually have the money to lend and are not simply creating it out of thin air.

Since it's private, I'm guessing that's the case. Only public financial entities are given the privilege of legal counterfeiting.