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Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty [Livre audio] [Anglais] [CD]

Muhammad Yunus , Ray Porter

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Amazon.com: 4.6 étoiles sur 5  16 commentaires
34 internautes sur 34 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Deeply Moving & Motivating! 16 juin 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
If you know the story of Grameen Bank, and wanted to know more about the founder - I don't need to say anymore.
If you haven't heard of Grameen, prepare yourself to learn about a bank which has overturned the conventional wisdom about helping people who live in poverty.
Yunus' big idea can be put very simply: people who live on less than $1 per day (3 billion people) don't need to be tought how to feed themselves and survive - the very fact that they are alive is testament to their abilities.
His approach rests upon that faith in people's ability to help themselves, if given access to the very small amounts of loan capital they need to start a profitable venture - whether that is weaving cloth or repairing bicycles.
The road to reaching more than 2 million people in Bangladesh, and many other millions worldwide, wasn't smooth. What you get from reading this book is a sense that sometimes the 'homegrown' solution beats the 'imposed' ideas from the developed world.
A challenging book for liberals and conservatives alike!
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Economics from the Bird's-Eye View to the Worm's-Eye View 4 août 2001
Par "hummingbirdgreen" - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
One of the more fascinating life histories I've read in a long time, Muhammad Yunus' autobiography enlightens more than entertains. And what enlightenment!
Born in 1940 in British-ruled India, Yunus recounts India's and his native East Pakistan's independence through the eyes of the seven-year-old he was. Replete with juvenile impressions of contemporary political and religious prejudices with their accompanying tensions, Yunus' account of independence and partition of the Indian subcontinent opened my eyes to a much different view of that history than I had ever read in adult-centric volumes.
The watershed event for Muhammad Yunus was Bangladesh's 1974 famine that killed thousands. As a faculty member of Chittagong University, he petitioned government to wake up and do something. Instead of waiting for a bureaucracy to emerge, though, he began to organize farming projects and sought other ways to alleviate suffering.
By 1976, Yunus had stumbled onto micro-lending. Realizing that local stool makers were not much more than slave laborers due their complete and total dependence on wholesalers for both daily credit for raw materials and a monopolistic market over which they had no price control, Yunus broke the cycle by lending 42 stoolmakers the total equivalent of US$27 from his own pocket.
From those unplanned and humble beginnings, the Grameen Bank was founded by an economics professor who had no intention of becoming a banker-much less a banker to the poor.
Today, Grameen Bank ("grameen" is an adjective meaning "village" or "rural" in the Bangla language) serves over two million micro-borrowers in nearly 40,000 Bangladeshi villages. It leads the way as a model for similar micro-lending movements in dozens of other countries, including the United States.
Professor Yunus' vision of eliminating poverty (defined as a situation where one cannot provide for his/her own basic needs) by 2050 is a challenge for our generation. Are we up to the task? I believe I know the answer. After reading Banker to the Poor, you can also know.
30 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Some substance, please 9 juillet 2009
Par Jonathan Zasloff - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:CD|Achat vérifié
Muhammed Yunus has worked tirelessly for the poorest of the poor. He has developed an enormously exciting new model for economic and social empowerment. He has expanded it to serve millions of people and give out billions of dollars in loans. His story is thrilling, even inspiring. How in the world can you criticize someone like that?

Well, here's how.

First and most importantly, you can scour through Banker to the Poor and not find anything concrete about whether the Grameen Bank and all of its allied institutions have actually reduced poverty.

In the middle of the book, Yunus says that he wants outside independent auditors to look at the outcomes for Grameen borrowers. I believe him, but the man has been in business for more than 30 years now; it would be nice to have SOME indicator of effectiveness. Moreover, when he discusses the "star" system, whereby individual Grameen branches apply for recognition for outstanding performance, he notes almost in passing that only 21 of more than 1,100 branches have even applied for the "brown star," which is awarded if 100% of the borrowers have escaped poverty. Maybe none of them even received it. Now, 100% is a very tall order and it's not the best indicator. But it is the ONLY one that Yunus offers in the entire book.

Think about the scale of Grameen: it has delivered more than $4 billion in loans since it was founded. That sounds impressive until you realize that Bangladesh has more than 120 million people, about 40% of the size of the United States. $4 billion isn't even a drop in the bucket on that scale.

And yes, Grameen borrowers have a superb record of repayment. But they also paid back the brutally unfair loans that they got from rapacious middlemen before Yunus stepped it for precisely the reason that Yunus explains: they have no other choice. So we still don't know anything about outcomes.

This critique is necessary because Yunus makes some quite extravagant claims in the book, e.g. the government should get out of the business of social service, health care, and education provision altogether. Can the free market provide such things for the poor? Of course not, Yunus says: that's why he needed to start Grameen in the first place. He then proposes a rather hazy notion of "socially conscious entrepreneurs" that will fill the gap, and insists that this sector -- which really has yet to exist anywhere -- can do it. What structures will ensure this? How can the proper incentives be provided? How would these entrepreneurial ventures look any different from the traditional nonprofit sector? Yunus doesn't tell us.

In fact, although Banker to the Poor gives a decent enough overall narrative of Grameen and its founder, it tells us precious little about the model, how it works, and why it is successful. We get a few nuggets: one key innovation appears to be giving loans to small groups of borrowers, who essentially monitor each other. This seems to have been an ingenious idea. He does discuss how dedicated his staff is, and -- to his great credit -- he names many of the important staffers and how they contributed to the organization. But his account of why such talented people work for Grameen, how he is able to retain them, and whether such staff can be found in other places and at a sufficient scale, is not explained.

My suspicion got piqued when I realized that no one seems to have been able to replicate his model on the scale he has in Bangladesh -- or at least none that he discusses. He does talk about replications, but they seem to be small and not really making a dent.

And I confess to a certain amount of annoyance as to the style of the book: the intrepid advocate Yunus battles intransigent bureaucrats, lazy bankers, arrogant development agencies (who, like the World Bank, nevertheless have funded him lavishly since the early 90's). He even relates the exact words of the exact conversations. This tone is heightened by an overheated performance by Ray Porter in the unabridged audio edition.

This surfeit of heat over light really comes through when Yunus argues that credit should be a "human right." But he simultaneously says that Grameen only wants highly motivated and energized borrowers, who will work and commit to making their businesses become successful. There are lots of people like that, and lots of people NOT like that. What about those borrowers who are not as highly motivated and responsible? Do they have the right to credit, too? Yunus wants to end world poverty, and more power to him: but at the fundamental level, in this book he doesn't really seem to have thought through the most important implications of his argument.

If you know next to nothing about micro-finance, as I did before reading this book, it's worth it. Yunus seems to have done a great deal of good; smart, committed, effective people and organizations support him. It makes a good deal of sense and it's not as if anyone else has the magic bullet. It would just be nice to know exactly what he has done and how he has done it. I'm looking forward to reading his next book and finding out the substance, because Banker to the Poor certainly doesn't provide it.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Trust in the poor enough to help them. 11 août 1999
Par Lloyd J. Klapperich - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This is the story of one man who extracted himself from economic theory long enough to see poverty in human terms, to trust in human beings, to form them into self-help units, to express that "trust" in economic terms and watch the seeds of faith grow into an international garden of success. In this garden today, grow the solutions to the world's most pressing problems. Now it is up to the rest of us to harvest crop.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Bringing information to a world full of disinformation 2 novembre 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
A book that makes you look at the world from the right perspective. It deals with major economic problems and provides solutions based on true experience. It has the clarity and simplicity that comes from having put the ideas into practice and having achieved results. Refreshing and inspiring in a world where its quite difficult to judge what is true.
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