Microcredit evangelism, health, and social policy

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13 Citations (Scopus)


The awarding of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize to Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, provides an opportunity to consider the use and abuse of microfinancing, especially because credit continues to be touted as a poverty-reduction strategy associated with health education and health care financing strategies. Not only is the Grameen diagnosis of poverty dubious, but many structural problems also plague the model, ranging from financial accounting to market failures. In Southern Africa, to illustrate, microcredit schemes for peasants and small farmers have been attempted for more than 70 years, on the basis that modern capitalism and peasant/informal system gaps can be bridged by an expanded financial system. The results have been disappointing. A critical reading of political economy posits an organic linkage between the "developed" and "underdeveloped" economies that is typically not mitigated by capitalist financial markets, but instead is often exacerbated. When applied to health and social policy, microcredit evangelism becomes especially dangerous.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-249
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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