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Putting Poverty into a Museum

  • Richard J. Estes
Chapter
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 78)

Abstract

The famous Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus (Bengali: মুহাম্মদ ইউনূস) began his career as a commercial banker serving mostly well-off individuals, small businesses, and corporations. Following several years of working in the commercial sector, however, he felt little satisfaction with his job as a banker to the economically well off. He turned his attention instead to the credit needs of the poor, especially to the needs of rural women struggling to establish small enterprises and to the urban poor, including the street beggars living and working in all major cities in Bangladesh. Yunus recognized that the most limiting characteristic of the poor was their inability to obtain credit at reasonable rates from commercial banks to initiate businesses or other enterprises of their own. After all, who is going to lend even a few Takas (0.88 Taka = 1 USD) to a blind man selling pencils or beverages from a communal cup on the streets of Dhaka? Indeed, who would be willing to invest in the credit needs of an impoverished woman who wanted to establish small gardens in which she and her friends could grow fruits or vegetables for sale to neighbors or local markets.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J. Estes
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Social Policy & PracticeUniversity of PennsylvaniaNarberthUSA

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