Sunday, June 28, 2009

Microfinance: The World Economy’s MRE?

Given that the world economy is still in survival mode, will the various micro finance schemes alleviate the world’s burgeoning poverty and unemployment problem?

By: Ringo Bones

Even though the criticisms against the Dr. Muhammad Yunus-inspired micro finance schemes is centered around the easily obtained money for drug and alcohol abuse by signing up for a microcredit loan under false pretenses - i.e. the microcredit / microfinance liar-loan, it is hard to argue against the overwhelming number of success stories. Though it is proven that there are those who are unscrupulously taking advantage of the program for easy money to fuel their various vices and addictions. The scheme is at least transparent enough – particularly in my neck of the woods – to see first-hand how the money that you’ve invested in your local microfinance scheme is being used. Especially when it comes to the small businesses that are more often than not are not more than 300 meters away from the local micro finance financier's headquarters.

As of late, U.S. President Barack Obama has been busy laying the groundwork for an improved regulation of the U.S. financial system so that the corporate excesses that lead into the near-catastrophic collapse of the global economy will never happen again. But in the meantime, those people being laid-off – and are definitely now unemployed - due to the post-credit crisis austerity could need a vital safety net to get them through the tough times. Especially here in the Far East where the recent economic slowdown in Hong Kong, Singapore, and even Japan had sent thousands of overseas workers back to their homelands without any prospect of financial security before they can find new jobs again. Plus, unlike in the United States, almost all of the countries in this region don’t have a comparable unemployment compensation scheme.

Most laid-off workers in the South-East Asian region – especially those former employees of the construction boom-gone-bust of mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore of the past few years. Are now applying for a microcredit / micro finance loan in order to become self-employed using the skills they learned when they were growing up. Like fishing and organic farming of exotic vegetables for the fast-growing slow food sector and herbal medicine market, which for all intents and purposes allows this laid-off workers to make their ancestral wisdom a part of their daily bread-winning scheme. Although the new trade – more often than not – earns only a fraction of the money they used to when working overseas, but without the availability and easy access to microcredit, these people for all intents and purposes will be in dire straits. And it also keeps the money moving around a bit – as opposed to a complete standstill – in a full-blown global depression like the one that started in Wall Street back in 1929.

1 comment:

VaneSSa said...

Even though it has a relatively high interest rate microfinance / microcredit loans can provide money to people who are shunned by mainstream banks who don't see them as "credit worthy". And microcredit / microfinance providers - at least the one I'm investing my money on - is inherentlymore prudent than those subprime loan providers in the US. I mean they ask the requisite questions and requisite credentials of their prospective clients, thus making them immune from our current subprime loan mess.
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