Microcredit: A Way To Self Reliance Essay

1901 words - 8 pages

Microcredit has inspired countless imaginations on the possibilities of drastically reducing global poverty. This paper will attempt to deconstruct the norm, to displace popular discourse only pertaining to a few examples of the theory and practice of microcredit. “The sign of a successfully implanted norm is its silence” (Carter 2007:152). It is no longer questioned or scrutinized. The notion of the ‘Global North’ and the ‘Global South’ is both normalized and problematic. It dictates the global agenda, and pools the resources of power in some parts of the world and not others. It is a binary, that stands on the idea of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways of being, that has actual repercussions and normalizing discourses (overwhelming from the ‘Global North’) diffusing singular ideas of what is to be considered ‘prosperity,’ ‘poverty,’ and even ‘development.’ Rist advises that mainstream models of development help to create and solidify dichotomies such as ‘developed’ and ‘undeveloped’ (Rist 2002:237). Latour states, “there is no world out there, there is just here” (Latour 2000:30). Latour is referring to circulating reference, explained as knowledge embedded in other knowledge in an unending spiral formation (ibid). Latour would assert that the use of polar extremes/dichotomies is not sensible, that there is a need to meet in the middle, to pay heed to context which includes aspects such as different forms of knowledge and geography. I argue that microcredit attempts to disrupt the dominant visual representation of individuals in the ‘Global South.’ These relations are usually marked with unequal and forcibly passive economic relations, which include air, with the ‘Global North.’
Microcredit is the extension of very small loans (microloans) to impoverished borrowers, usually with an entrepreneurial spirit, typically in countries in the ‘Global South’, who usually lack collateral, steady employment and a verifiable credit history (Harper 2011:49). It was orchestrated to override the requirement of literacy needed to complete paperwork for conventional loans. It is meant to be affordable to engage in and wants to focus on empowering women, who may be restrained from having economic decision-making power. Microcredit theory is the ideas that by allowing impoverished individuals to participate in world capitalism, the capital used is a loan, rather than aid. Thus, microcredit would be able to create autonomous, self-reliant business-oriented users who could then strengthen communities. Rist argues that the shift to the term ‘developing’ created a false hope and shared belief that economic ‘stability’ was attainable (Rist 2002:238). Chambers claims that the power of vocabulary and its abilities to change how we think and what we do is easy to underestimate (Chambers 2005:187). Chambers comments that language influences the course of development in many ways: “through changing the agenda, modifying mindsets; legitimating new actions; and through stimulating...

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