Seduced and Betrayed: Exposing the Contemporary Microfinance Phenomenon


Event Date: 25 January 2018

Room B01
Clore Management Centre
Birkbeck, University of London
Torrington Square
London WC1E 7JL

The Birkbeck Institute for Social Research and Birkbeck Gender & Sexuality (BiGS) present:

Seduced and Betrayed: Exposing the Contemporary Microfinance Phenomenon


Milford Bateman, Juraj Dobrila University of Pula, Croatia
Kate Maclean, Birkbeck, University of London, UK

Microfinance began as the disbursement of tiny loans to the poor, which they could use to undertake informal income-generating activities. It went on to become one of the most popular international development policies of all time and a mainstay of local development and antipoverty programs across the Global South. The contributors to this multidisciplinary volume consider the origins, evolution, and outcomes of microfinance from a variety of perspectives and contend that it has been an unsuccessful approach to development. The contributors contend that over the last twenty years, microfinance policies have exacerbated poverty and exclusion, undermined gender empowerment, underpinned a massive growth in inequality, destroyed solidarity and trust in the community, and, overall, manifestly weakened those local economies of the Global South where it reached critical mass. They use qualitative anthropological, economic, and political-economic research to unpack the ideas and values that have allowed microfinance to “seduce” the world and blind so many to its corrosive effects.

The book is based on a National Science Foundation funded weekend-seminar at the School of Advanced Research, UNM, Santa Fe New Mexico in 2012. Participants and contributors include anthropologists Carla Freeman, Lamia Karim and Meena Khandelwal, economists Milford Bateman and Maren Duvendack, as well as scholars from development studies (Phil Mader, Kazia Paprocki, Kate Maclean) and practitioners (Jessica Gordon Nembhard, and Khadija Sharife). The foreword is by James K Galbraith.

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