Is microfinance an ethical way to provide financial services to the poor?
Is part ofRevue Éthique et Économique / Ethics and Economics ; vol. 5, no 1
Microfinance is increasingly seen as a major development tool. Its promise to help the poor by providing financial services is seen as the major reason for its support. Nevertheless, its ability to effectively reduce poverty is not yet clear, and it generates some unresolved ethical questions. These become even more prominent in the process of commercialization. The impact on poverty is usually measured in financial terms. In this paper, poverty is defined in a broader sense to include deficiency in human and social capital. The article shows that, in this broad sense, microfinance may have negative as well as positive effects on poverty.