What is microfinance?

Muhammad Yunus: Well I had no idea that I would ever get involved in anything about lending or microfinance. At that time that word didn’t exist, so the idea of having such a program didn’t come to my mind. I was teaching at Chittagong University in Bangladesh at a time when our country was going through a big famine. Lots of people were dying of hunger. So I was kind of feeling terrible that I teach something beautiful, some economic elegant theories, but it doesn’t come to any use for people. So I wanted to see if I could do something directly as a person – to individual person, human being right next door to the university campus, adjacent to the university campus. So I was doing some little things to help people, and I saw how many lenders are operating in the village and made a list of those people who borrowed from lenders. There are 42 names on my list. The total money they borrowed was $27. So I thought I can solve this problem; help them get out of the clutches of the money lenders by lending this money to 42 people, this $27. They can return the money to the money lenders and they will be free. And that’s what I did and they were pretty excited about it, so I wanted to continue it. I went to the banks who do the lending to the poor people. They refused. So ultimately I offered myself as a guarantor to the banks so that they will allow them to get the money. So that’s how it began, and it continued and we’ve been successful.

 

Recorded on: 1/23/08

 

 

 

Yunus offered himself as a guarantor for poor villagers who borrowed small amounts of money from banks.

Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together.

A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.

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  • How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
  • To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
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Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
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