Innovations and Inspirations. Pathways out of poverty for the poorest.
Category Archives: Soul of Finance
Money has power. And that power can be deployed to include or to isolate, to empower or to extort. We’ve seen the truth of this in microfinance as we observe clients using money in a variety of ways to build a better future for their children. On the other hand, we have seen how the lure of big payoffs have led microfinance organizations to forego basic disciplines and client focus in order to boost their stock market valuations. We have also seen the power of money on Wall Street. There, capital has pooled to build companies that provide jobs and products for thousands, yet at the same time, a “profit-at-all-cost” ethos led financial institutions to sell faulty products and bring the world economy to the edge of collapse.
In microfinance we seek to use the tools of finance to achieve a noble objective, to empower those living in poverty to build a better future for themselves, their children and their communities. But this path has many snares. Money, like power, corrupts. Money can lure us into a desire to use it for our own benefit at the expense of others.
How do we resist this magnetic pull away from our original values? How do we build strong attractors that pull us in the direction of our clients and their needs? That’s what this blog series will be about. I will be interviewing leaders in microfinance and the wider financial community to ask them questions about how they deal with the challenges and temptations that come with managing money. I will link to other discussions and ideas that show how we can remain focused on the people we seek to serve. And from time to time I will throw in some historical examples from others who have addressed these same challenges.
Most of all I want this series to be a place where we can encourage each other as we work to develop the strength of soul to be able to serve as managers of money, and not its servant.
On Monday, January 21, in the United States we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. He would have been 84 on January 15th. Dr. King represents for us a man who used moral vision and courage to bring about … Continue reading →
Are microfinance tools used to exploit people rather than making their life better? Larry Reed, Director of the Microcredit Summit Campaign, posed this question during his presentation “Recovering the Soul of Finance” at the Financial Inclusion Conference 2012, “The First … Continue reading →
Essma Ben Hamida: “I think the Arab region will be saved by its women.” Essma Ben Hamida and her husband, Michael Cracknell, are the founders of enda inter-arabe (http://www.endarabe.org.tn/). Enda is the first and largest microfinance institution in Tunisia. With … Continue reading →