Title
After the Nicaraguan non-payment crisis : alternatives to microfinance narcissismAfter the Nicaraguan non-payment crisis : alternatives to microfinance narcissism
Author
Faculty/Department
Institute of Development Policy and Management
Research group
Development processes, actors and policies
Publication type
article
Publication
Beverly Hills, Calif.,
Subject
Law
Source (journal)
Development and change. - Beverly Hills, Calif.
Volume/pages
44(2013):4, p. 861-885
ISSN
0012-155X
1467-7660
ISI
000321187200002
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
This article argues against microfinance narcissism' and calls for a re-politicization of the microfinance paradigm. The dominant verdict on microcredit has undergone a damning transformation, from magic bullet for poverty reduction' to cause of suicide'. Nowadays, both radical critics and mainstream voices deplore microcredit's negative impact on micro-entrepreneurs. They argue for a reorientation where credit is targeted at established small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly in rural areas. The crisis in microfinance worldwide, including burgeoning protests, are viewed as proof of the commercial derailment and/or misplaced faith in microfinance's positive social and economic impact on the poor. This article engages with this debate through a study of the Nicaraguan micro-finance crisis. It challenges existing analyses that pin the crisis on agricultural over-indebtedness, lack of due diligence, or Sandinista populist politics. Illustrating the dangers of neglecting the diverse nature of microfinance, it reveals the paradoxical outcomes of the crisis: a refocus on the urban at the expense of agricultural credit for small and medium enterprises and a consolidation of the power of national processing elites. Nicaragua's Non-Payment Movement is also shown to be both a product of elite manipulation and an expression of legitimate resistance to an industry that turns a blind eye to the manner in which markets and politics constrain clients' potential.
E-info
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