Monday, March 21, 2011

Yunus Should Launch A Political Party

The father of microfinance - Muhammad Yunus - is being hounded in his own homeland. It is sad. But it is politics as usual in Bangladesh. Politicians get in the way. Now you know why Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world, a blight on the face of earth. It is these people.

Micro loans alone can't cure poverty. It is one of several necessary tools. And I don't think it is the number one tool. The number one tool is good governance. That is why I have been pouring passionate time into Arab democracy. Because I know it is important. The year a country becomes a modern democracy is year one in that country's life. That is when it all begins.

But a democracy that is fundamentally corrupt, like Bangladesh is, is a joke of a democracy. It is work only half done. Just like Yunus launched Grameen Bank, he should now launch a Grameen Party. In politics there is no retirement age. And the work on Grameen Bank is already done. The wheels of Grameen will keep rolling. But if Yunus truly cares about poverty alleviation, and I have no doubt he does, he needs to now launch a Grameen Party, a political party.

He needs to become a crusader against Third World corruption. If there is political will, it is not hard to do. Only good governance can deliver education, health and job creation on large scales. Microfinance is an add on to good governance, education, health and job creation.

In high income brackets in the richest countries more like 1% of the population tends to be entrepreneurial. The rest look for good jobs created by those entrepreneurs. I don't think it is the case that as you go further down the income brackets the entrepreneurial drive increases, so much that by the time you hit the dollar a day people, 100% of them are aspiring entrepreneurs. Not true. I think that 1% figure holds in all income brackets. It is 1-5% max. Microcredit should target those. Job creation should target the other 95%. And you create the right environment for job creation through good governance. So, Yunus, respond to the calling. Go into politics. Transform Bangladesh.

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