What if you could harness the power of the free market to solve the problems of poverty, hunger, and inequality? To some, it sounds impossible. But Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus is doing exactly that. As founder of Grameen Bank, Yunus pioneered microcredit, the innovative banking program that provides the poor — mainly women — with small loans they use to launch businesses and lift their families out of poverty. Muhammad Yunus’s vision is the total eradication of poverty from the world. "Grameen," he says, "is a message of hope, a program for putting homelessness and destitution in a museum so that one day our children will visit it and ask how we could have allowed such a terrible thing to go on for so long." This work is a fundamental rethink on the economic relationship between the rich and the poor, their rights and their obligations. The World Bank recently acknowledged that "this business approach to the alleviation of poverty has allowed millions of individuals to work their way out of poverty with dignity." Credit is the last hope left to those faced with absolute poverty. That is why Muhammad Yunus believes that the right to credit should be recognized as a fundamental human right. It is this struggle and the unique and extraordinary methods he invented to combat human despair that Muhammad Yunus recounts here with humility and conviction. It is also the view of a man familiar with both Eastern and Western cultures — on the failures and potential for good of industrial countries. It is an appeal for action: we must concentrate on promoting the will to survive and the courage to build in the first and most essential element of the economic cycle — Man.
Achieving Lasting Peace by Eradicating Poverty
“I was not trained to understand self-help. I was trained, like all students of economics, to believe that all people, as they grow up, should prepare themselves to get jobs at the job market. If you fail to get a job, you register yourself for government charity. But I could not hold on to these beliefs when I faced the real life of the poor people in Bangladesh. For most of them [the] job market did not mean much. For survival they turned to economic activities on their own. But the economic institutions and policies did not take notice of their struggle. They were rejected by the formal systems for no fault of their own....” -From a speech given by Professor Yunus
Halving Poverty by 2015
“I have chosen to speak on the most daring of all Millennium Development Goals: halving poverty by 2015. I have chosen it for two reasons. First, this is the most courageous goal mankind ever set for itself. For the last two decades I have been talking about creating a world free from poverty. I talk about it not because it is unjust to have a world with poverty, which is, of course, true. I talk about it simply because I am totally convinced from my experience of working with poor people that they can get themselves out of poverty if we give them the same or similar opportunities as we give to others. The poor themselves can create a poverty-free world....” -From a speech given by Professor Yunus
Ending Global Poverty, One Loan at a Time
Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi banker and economist. He previously was a professor of economics and is famous for his successful application of microcredit ; the extension of small loans. These loans are given to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. Yunus is also the founder of Grameen Bank. In 2006, Yunus and the bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, "for their efforts to create economic and social development from below." Yunus himself has received several other national and international honors. He is the author of Banker to the Poor and a founding board member of Grameen Foundation. In early 2007 Yunus showed interest in launching a political party in Bangladesh named Nagorik Shakti (Citizen Power), but later discarded the plan. He is one of the founding members of Global Elders.