Friday, April 18, 2008


Government decision-makers, many NGOs, and international consultants usually start the work of poverty alleviation by launching very elaborate training programs. They do this because they begin with the assumption that people are poor because they lack skills. Training also perpetuates their own interests - by creating more jobs for themselves without the responsibility of having to produce any concrete results. Thanks to the flow of aid and welfare budgets, a huge industry has evolved worldwide for the sole purpose of providing such training. Experts on poverty alleviation insist that training is absolutely vital for the poor not to move up the economic ladder. But if you go out into the real world, you cannot miss seeing that the poor are poor because they cannot retain the returns of their labour. They have no control over capital, and it is the ability to control capital that gives people the power to rise out of poverty. Profit is unashamedly biased toward capital. In their powerless state, the poor work for the benefit of someone who controls the productive assets. Why can they not control any capital? Because they do not inherit any capital or credit and nobody gives them access to it because they are not considered creditworthy.

excerpted from Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus

No comments: