Why Credit And Not Grants

The recent winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Muhammad Yunus, explains why he prefers to help the world’s poor with loans rather than grants of financial aid:

Many people ask, Why not just give free cash, especially under such dire circumstances? In Bangladesh, we’ve learned that when aid is free, not only do the poor get the least of it, but everyone inflates their needs. While some handouts are clearly necessary in such times, we focus on lending small amounts of money. This lets us keep costs down and rebuild funds for the next disaster. Most importantly, our Grameen banks are ready to act at a moment’s notice. They can respond to a disaster without waiting for anyone’s permission, immediately becoming like humanitarian agencies by suspending loan payments, and providing cash, food and medicines. Once rebuilding starts, the bankers keep detailed records of the money lent, and people are allowed to repay bit by bit.

The full article can be found here. Link via Greg Mankiw here.

1 Response to “Why Credit And Not Grants”


  • Economists Are Destroying America

    Economists, politicians, and executives from both parties have promised American families that “free” trade policies like NAFTA, CAFTA, and WTO/CHINA would accomplish three things:

    • Increase wages
    • Create trade surpluses (for the US)
    • Reduce illegal immigration

    Well, their trade policies have been in effect for about 15 years. Let’s review the results:

    • Declining real wages for 80% of working Americans (while healthcare, education, and childcare costs skyrocket)
    • A record-high 46 million Americans who don’t have health insurance (due in part to declining wages and benefits)
    • Illegal immigration out of control
    • Soaring trade deficits, much with countries that use slave and child labor
    • Personal and national debt both out-of-control
    • Global environments threatened by lax trade deal enforcement

    Economists Keep Advocating Policies That Aren’t Working

    Upon seeing incontrovertible evidence of these negative trade agreement results, economists continue with Pollyannish blather. Some say, “Cheer up! GDP is up and the stock market’s doing fine.” Others say, “Be patient. Stay the course. Free trade will raise all ships.”

    Even those economists who acknowledge problems with trade agreements offer us only half-measures—adjusting exchange rates, improving safety nets, and providing better job retraining. None of these will close the wage gap in America—and economists know it.

    Why Aren’t American Economists Shouting From Street Corners?

    America needs trade deals that support American families and businesses in terms of wage, environmental, and intellectual property abuses. Why aren’t economists demanding renegotiation of our trade deals? There are three primary reasons:

    • Economists are too beholden to corporations and special interests that provide them with research grants.
    • Economists believe—but refuse to admit—that sacrificing the American middle class is necessary and appropriate to generate gains in third world economies.
    • Economists refuse to admit they make mistakes.

    Economic Ambulance Chasers

    Now more than ever, Americans need their economists to speak truth and stand up to their big business clients. Instead, economists sound like lawyers caught chasing ambulances: they claim they’re “doing it for our benefit”.

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