The Web personalizes microfinance... is that a good thing?
An interesting meditation from Salon's very cool Andrew Leonard on e-microfinance website Kiva.org. As Leonard aptly analogizes, it's like online dating meets investment banking for the poor: You choose someone from a long list of profiles, ranging from widows in Togo to small businessmen in Ecuador, to give a tiny loan to.

Leonard draws out a beautiful, and revolutionary, picture of women in Bangaldesh trouping to the Internet cafe to tweak their profiles to best attract some California yuppie who frequents the site. But he's bothered by the fact that only the most interesting (or datable) poor might get his money. It's true that one of the benefits of capitalism is that you don't have to like the person who bakes your bread, just the bread itself.

But it's also true that salesmanship (the baker with the slickest marketing campaign, say, or the most beautiful shop) gets rewarded. So is it so terrible that the savviest poor might get a few extra dollars? Perhaps not -- so long as the un-savvy are also getting help. That's the real point of all this, isn't it?
Posted by Telis Demos 10:54 AM 1 Comments comment | Add a Comment

www.kiva.org works wonders, I've tried it for at least a year. Very satisfying to loan someone 25 bucks and have them email you a note as to how they are doing, and repay you.
Posted By John Dubock Salt Lake City, UT : 11:42 PM  

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.