Summary: Articles that cover microfinance in the context of robber barons help show that microfinance to money is like Microsoft to life
MICROFINANCE or micro-lending is a subject we covered in the context of the Gates Foundation [1, 2, 3] and the Grameen Foundation, which has roots in Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and is connected directly to the Gates Foundation through collaboration. But what exactly is it that they do? Welcome to the world of micro-lending — a world where even the world’s poorest people get exploited for whatever they have left, be it hard labour (being forced to endlessly produce to meet quotas, in order to pay back unwanted loans), prostitution, and whatnot. In order to explain this predatory segment of the financial industry we can firstly recommend the following video:
For a more direct explanation about micro-lending, use the links at the top (e.g. [1, 2]). This is a subject that we covered many times before and this time we cover it using news from the past 2 months. The short story is that the Gates Foundation is pushing loans. A fashionable way to do so as of late is to offer mobile phones in some very poor countries. While this can be painted as donation of means of communication, this is actually a Trojan horse for predatory banks from the West (remember that Bill Gates is investing in Goldman Sachs, which is controversial because Goldman Sachs monetises famine). What Gates does here is akin to giving poor people the ‘gift’ of debt, i.e. greater dependence on amoral or immoral corporations from the West. What does that lead to? Let’s look at some news.
One of our favourite journalists as of late explains quite nicely why the Gates Foundation is preying on the most vulnerable, who need to borrow money just to eat:
Christen says the philanthropy has found in its exploration of financial services that when you go into a poor community they get 5-to-10 requests for savings services for every request for a microloan.
“In a visit to Tanzania,” Melinda Gates said. “I was just blown away to see people standing in a line at the bank for three hours.”
The poor want to save, she said, and the Gates Foundation hopes to launch a revolution in this area of financial services for the poor.
Here’s the foundation’s statement on its new push into micro-savings and a list of the first round of grants.
This is also a business opportunity for the likes of Monsanto, which the Gates Foundation invests in. The philanthrocapitalism.net Web site has this to say: “The mere thought that the Grameen Bank might be taken over by the government of Bangladesh and that Muhammad Yunus, its Nobel Peace Prize-winning founder, might be forcibly retired, is shocking. But senior people inside the world’s best-known microfinance institution fear that this may happen, perhaps quite soon. Already, senior Grameen staff have had to phone each of the bank’s branches to refute press reports that Mr Yunus had resigned, reports that had threatened to panic savers into withdrawing their money and borrowers to stop repaying loans.”
“This is also a business opportunity for the likes of Monsanto, which the Gates Foundation invests in.”Pay careful attention to this Web site, philanthrocapitalism.net, which shows Clinton’s continued support for Gates’ agenda and Microsoft’s agenda too (they know they would be wise to hang out where the money is [1, 2] and their daughter recently married a Goldman Sachs investment banker).
Our reader Toby had more to say about this subject of microfinance: “get them participating in the usury system… billionaires have EVERY RIGHT to skim from the world’s poorest… meanwhile, credit card companies are offering 30% interest to Americans (and canadians iirc)…”
Toby linked to this new Bloomberg article from which he quoted: “Andhra Pradesh, where three-quarters of the 76 million people live in rural areas, suffered a total of 14,364 suicide cases in the first nine months of 2010 [...] “Selling debt is like selling drugs,” says Harper, 75, the author of more than 20 books on microfinance and other topics. “Selling debt to illiterate women in Andhra Pradesh, you’ve got to be a lot more responsible.””
Quoting further from this article of strong content:
More than 70 people committed suicide in the state from March 1 to Nov. 19 to escape payments or end the agonies their debt had triggered, according to the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty, a government agency that compiled the data on the microfinance-related deaths from police and press reports.
She says she ran away from home after collectors began harassing her. She took out multiple loans beginning in 2005, and she names Spandana as one of the lenders.
Some of the money paid for the funeral of her eldest son. When she fell behind on payments, she says loan officers threatened to humiliate her in front of neighbors and pressed her to sell her small grandchildren into prostitution.
In establishment political discussions no one is supposed to consider that some of the powerful people being discussed really are making decisions based on goals they want which are nasty and immoral.
But instead of being able to bring motive into analysis, we robotically repeat things like:
“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”
Which is not an argument at all, but a command in the form of an aphorism, designed to cut off, and not further, rational analysis of what goes on around us.
Due to this muting by aphorism, we’re supposed to assume that, yeah, the people around us, yeah *they* may have selfish or harmful motives at times (or certain people more so), but, no, no, we mustn’t speak that way abut the powerful.
No matter what the subject is, we aren’t supposed to question the Honorable Intentions of our leaders. Not even when they’re lying to force the nation into a murderous invasion and occupation for reasons clearly against any sane conception of the ‘national interest’ (i.e., the interests of us inhabitants of the nation) but which did clearly benefit the ideological convictions, political fortunes, and economic connections of the government which did so.
So, while pundits and establishment discussants may wish us to avoid any analysis of political decisions which is allowed to consider malice as a reasonable aspect of intent, I don’t think sane people should similarly refuse.
Talk radio certainly doesn’t refrain from ascribing nefarious motives to every Democrat and liberal, and in no way is it somehow dignified or noble to decide that in response, we’ll cut off that part of our rationality which has to consider why humans in positions of power might want to do what they do.
On January 10th, Dr. Glyn Moody had drawn some more attention to the problem at hand. “More World Bank fail, in Uzbekistan,” he called it, quoting: “Most disturbing was the Bank’s underreporting and minimizing of child labor, says Ezgulik.” It’s the same problem Bloomberg noted in relation to microfinance.
An Uzbek human rights group concerned about the World Bank’s failure to concede state control of agriculture and the extent of child labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton industry has received an acknowledgement from the Bank about its concerns.
Ezgulik evaluates a World Bank review of a $67.9 million loan to Uzbekistan for rural enterprise support, granted in 2008 for the period of 2010-2015, to extend a previous project from 2001-2008. The report makes certain assumptions that Ezgulik vigorously challenges: that farm reforms are underway; that collective farms were abolished; and that private farms were established in their place. Instead, Ezgulik explains, farmers are heavily restricted, are still forced to sell quotas to the state at fixed prices, and are dependent on local administrators for loans and supplies. This situation provides an incentive for bribery so that farmers can get better resources and avoid penalties for failure to meet their quotas.
In India it has become commonplace for farmers to commit suicide by consuming Monsanto pesticides. The combination of GMO (patented seeds) and loans is an harmonious-and-nonetheless-lethal one, yet Gates supports it while sponsoring the press that covers the subject because it helps silence opposition. █