Monday, March 02, 2009

Muhammad Yunus calls for a redesign of the financial world

Muhammad Yunus is calling for a radical redesign of the financial world in the wake of the global credit crisis. In giving a lecture to an UK award ceremony for development, Yunus called on the financial world to give more credit to people in poverty.

Yunus is founder of the Grameen Bank, a microcredit bank he began that gave small loans to Bangladeshi women who did not have collateral. The bank had 99 percent of it's loans payed back. Since then, Yunus has branched out into other ventures that benefit those in poverty.

From the press release on the award ceremony that we found at One World net, are excerpts from Yunus' lecture.

Nobel Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank has called for an urgent redesign of the world’s financial systems and a major shift to a more “inclusive” banking system through microcredit and “social business”. Professor Yunus delivered the Inaugural Ashden Awards Lecture to over 400 people at the Royal Geographical Society last week.

Responding to the global financial crisis, Professor Yunus described it as an opportunity to bring about fundamental change:

“The financial, environmental and food crises are all interrelated and are all driven by selfishness. We must seize this opportunity to come up with an alternative financial system, based on trust and selflessness. The poor are suffering from financial apartheid. They make up two-thirds of the world’s population but are currently excluded from the system. The real issue is not whether the poor are credit-worthy but whether banks are people worthy” said Professor Yunus.

“While the financial world collapses all around us, our schemes are thriving - so who is really credit worthy?” he remarked.

Professor Yunus’ lecture also set out his “social business” approach described in his recent book, Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism where he calls for the creation of new businesses that are not founded on the profit motive, but on the motive to help others.

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