TONIGHT ON THE TERRORDOME: Muhammad Yunus on Creating a World Without

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The global economic imbalance of wealth is based on taking the resources away from the many—at the business end of weapons, when necessary—to be given to the very few.

Some of those weapons were pointed 500 years ago; others are being pointed today. Even if the wealthy accumulated their riches through inheritance, if the inheritance accrued from a crime, the crime itself is inherited along with its fruits. There is no moral statute of limitations on the plunders of imperialism.

According to Global Issues.org:

Among the many traps that the world’s poor are in, one of the most needless is that of credit. The poor are generally exhorted to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, without recognising that the poorest of the world have no boots—neither metaphorically nor literally. In order for entrepreneurs to make money, they usually need to borrow money. To borrow money, they need collateral. To gain collateral, they need to have had money already.

One man recognised just how needless and destructive the poverty/credit trap is, and decided to act. His actions not only helped numerous people escape poverty, but achieved international acclaim. That man is economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank. Yunus began in the Indian village of Jobra in 1976, lending tiny amounts of money to extremely poor women who had no collateral. Through hard work and with support, these women become economically self-sufficient. “Grameen,” meaning “rural,” was the beginning of the micro-credit lending system which has since become international, having lent more than $5.7 billion to 6.61 million borrowers. To date, repayment has been 99%.

Yunus is highly regarded globally, having served on dozens of international committees and commissions. He’s a Director on 15 international boards, the recipient of 29 honourary degrees from universities around the world, and is a member of the South Africa-based Elders Project, convened by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Yunus’s work has been celebrated almost beyond compare. He’s won 15 major international awards, including the 1989 Aga Khan Architecture Award for helping the poor construct 60,000 housing units, the 2000 Gandhi Peace Prize, and the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee remarked, “Lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty. Microcredit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights.”

Muhammad Yunus is the author of an autobiography, The Banker to the Poor: Micro-lending and the Battle Against World Poverty.

VIDEO: Author Stephen Covey interviewing Grameen Bank Founder Muhammad Yunus for the "Masters of Leadership" series sponsored by the State of the World Forum.

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