Journal of Chinese Political Science

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 369–370 | Cite as

Becky Yang Hsu, Borrowing Together: Microfinance and Cultivating Social Ties

(New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 174 p. $99.99 Hardback
  • Thomas B. GoldEmail author
Book Review

Although the word “microfinance” appears in the subtitle of this book, the real subject is “social ties.” Becky Yang Hsu identifies herself as a “sociologist of religion” and it becomes clear that her main interest is not in the economic issues of entrepreneurship and development but in culture and morality. She uses “microfinance” as window to examine the formation of the “person” in rural China and how “personhood” is deeply embedded in social relationships, i.e., guanxi. She rather quickly dismisses the idea that microfinance has played a major role in stimulating entrepreneurial behavior, at least in her fieldsite, and focuses instead on how people use the loans they receive, often reluctantly, to strengthen ties with other villagers.

She began her fieldwork in 2004 in an unnamed county affiliated with a microfinance NGO she calls Global Hope. That year marked a high point in the popularity of microfinance as a way to solve poverty through private micro-entrepreneurship as inspired...

Copyright information

© Journal of Chinese Political Science/Association of Chinese Political Studies 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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