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Seduced and Betrayed

Exposing the Contemporary Microfinance Phenomenon

Edited by Milford Bateman and Kate Maclean, foreword by James K. Galbraith

Microfinance began as the disbursement of tiny loans to the poor, which they could use to undertake informal income-generating activities. It went on to become one of the most popular international development policies of all time and a mainstay of local development and antipoverty programs across the Global South. The contributors to this multidisciplinary volume consider the origins, evolution, and outcomes of microfinance from a variety of perspectives and contend that it has been an unsuccessful approach to development. The contributors contend that over the last twenty years, microfinance policies have exacerbated poverty and exclusion, undermined gender empowerment, underpinned a massive growth in inequality, destroyed solidarity and trust in the community, and, overall, manifestly weakened those local economies of the Global South where it reached critical mass. They use qualitative anthropological, economic, and political-economic research to unpack the ideas and values that have allowed microfinance to “seduce” the world and blind so many to its corrosive effects.

2017. 392 pp., 1 halftone, 5 tables, notes, references, index, 6 x 9

Contributors: Domen Bajde, Milford Bateman, Maren Duvendack, Carla Freeman, Charlotte Heales, Lamia Karim, Meena Khandelwal, Kate Maclean, Philip Mader, Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Sonja Novković, Kasia Paprocki, Elliott Prasse-Freeman, Khadija Sharife, Dean Sinković, Marcus Taylor

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“Readers will find the book’s multidisciplinary approach to critiquing the microfinance model very enriching to the current debate. The chapters are well researched and have considerable breadth. The book itself is thought-provoking and inviting. . . . The critical reflection running throughout the book is a welcome addition to what is already an exploding and divisive debate. . . . To conclude, this book succeeds in its intentions of exposing the flaws of contemporary microfinance and the growing fascination with financial inclusion on the international development agenda. . . . This well-written book is academically stimulating, reaches out to a wider audience and will be useful and of interest to policy makers and anyone involved in studying and teaching microfinance.”
Juliana Siwale, Nottingham Trent University, International Small Business Journal 36, no. 1 (2018)

James K. Galbraith

Introduction – Setting the Scene
Milford Bateman and Kate Maclean

Part One – Background

Chapter One – The Political Economy of Microfinance
Milford Bateman

Chapter Two – Poverty Reduction or the Financialization of Poverty?
Maren Duvendack and Philip Mader

Part Two – Seduction

Chapter Three – Pop Development and the Uses of Feminism
Meena Khandelwal and Carla Freeman

Chapter Four – Petit Bourgeois Fantasies: Microcredit, Small-Is-Beautiful Solutions, and Development’s New Antipolitics
Elliott Prasse-Freeman

Chapter Five – Kiva’s Staging of “Peer-to-Peer” Charitable Lending: Innovative Marketing or Egregious Deception?
Domen Bajde

Chapter Six – Muhammad Yunus’s Model of Social Business: A New, More Humane Form of Capitalism or a Failed “Next Big Idea”?
Milford Bateman and Sonja Novković

Part Three Betrayal

Chapter Seven – Bosnia’s Postconflict Microfinance Experiment: A New Balkan Tragedy
Milford Bateman and Dean Sinković

Chapter Eight – From Tigers to Cats? The Rise and Crisis of Microfinance in Rural India
Marcus Taylor

Chapter Nine – The Destructive Role of Microcredit in Post-apartheid South Africa
Milford Bateman and Khadija Sharife

Chapter Ten – Public Goods Provision Aided by Microfinance: Thanks to Groupthink and Ideological Blinkers, It’s a Success
Philip Mader

Chapter Eleven – The “Scandal” of Grameen: The Nobel Prize, the Bank, and the State in Bangladesh
Lamia Karim

Chapter Twelve – Agricultural Microfinance and Risk Saturation
Charlotte Heales

Part Four – Alternatives

Chapter Thirteen – Banking on the Difference: Credit Unions as Superior Local Financial Institutions for the Poor
Jessica Gordon Nembhard

Chapter Fourteen – Microfinance and the “Woman” Question
Kate Maclean

Chapter Fifteen – Moral and Other Economies: Nijera Kori and Its Alternatives to Microcredit
Kasia Paprocki

Chapter Sixteen – The “Solidarity Economy” Model and Local Finance: Lessons from New Left Experiments in Latin America?
Milford Bateman and Kate Maclean

Conclusion – It’s the Politics, Stupid
Milford Bateman and Kate Maclean


There are no working papers for this book at the present time.