20 October 2006

The Nobel Prize

Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi banker and economist and founder of the Grameen Bank, won this years Nobel Peace Prize (together with the Grameen Bank) "for their efforts to create economic and social development from below."

Yunus is said to be the developer of the concept of microcredit, giving small loans to entrepreneurs who are too poor to qualify for a conventional bank loan. The Grameen Bank (literally, "Bank of the Villages", was founded in 1976 and has issued more than US$ 5.1 billion to 5.3 million borrowers.

His stated vision is to reduce world poverty by 50 percent by 2015.

“Poverty is not created by poor people,” advocates Yunus. “It is created by the concepts and institutional arrangements under which people live.”

It is interesting that he received the Nobel Peace Prize, and not the Nobel Prize for Economics. Might this be because this person has actually done something concrete and helped real human beings - and not just formulated yet another theory based on some abstract concepts that are totally divorced from most people's reality - as most economic theories and concepts invariably seem to be ....?

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