26 October 2005

Kiva, Loans that change lives

Reading over Seth Godin's blog this morning, I came across Kiva. As Seth calls it, it's a microlending system that allows all of us to make a difference elsewhere in the world. Instead of spending $25 on over-priced latt├ęs and what not, you can instead lend some coin to help a farmer in a developing region buy some equipment or livestock. Then the farmer pays you back. Seth summed it up better than I can:
This is one of a number of cool ways to do first world wealth transfer. The challenge, as always, is in the execution. There's not a huge shortage of money for microlending operations--there's a shortage of great banks, great people to run those banks and access to the right sort of people to make the loans to.

It's easy to imagine that every culture is as crisp as ours when it comes to money. (and hey, we're not even that good at it... just look at credit card debt for an example). Most of the challenge of microbanking is in changing social systems, not in moving the $25. But like all things on the net, this is a great first step in opening up bottlenecks.

Again, I'd like to offer a hearty Fuck you to all the naysayers.

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