Microfinance: Money For Social and Economic Change

Written by Briana Cavanaugh

September 8, 2009

I contend that money is one of the easiest and most effective ways to create change. Money touches us all. Every part of every business and individual’s lives, at least in the US, somehow touches money. Food, clothing and shelter for individuals, products, services and employees on the business side. All about money. That is because money is really the spirit of exchange – and we’ve given the power of that exchange away so that it appears that it doesn’t belong to us. But it does.

Everyone has money (even if they think it’s not very much). You’ll touch easily more than a million dollars in your lifetime. (Even at $20k, just above poverty in the US, 50 years of that puts you at $1 million, not including social security, investments, benefits or your real salary. And at $50k for 25 years you’ll touch at minimum $1.25 million). That’s a lot of money.

That gives you a lot of power. In fact that makes you a millionaire. How would you make decisions if you were a millionaire?

Most of my clients are doing something amazing in the world, whether it’s high-standards eco-friendly product reviews or revolutionizing beauty we’re all looking for ways to make the world a better place.

There are lots of options to choose from. One of those options is micro-finance.

Microfinance takes the power of money and gets it out into the community. When I decided to write this morning it was because of Scott Cooney’s article about Microfinance. I enjoy his work and wanted to pass that on. I also want to say that he’s wrong.

Microfinance will change the face of business in the US, whether we challenge Kiva or not.

Micro-finance and micro-lending is one of the most powerful ways that we have of transforming the monetary system. Micro-lending puts power directly into the hands of individual small investors to support things that are important to them. They make decisions about people, often people they know and certainly things they care about. That is really the ultimate goal in my opinion. People helping people with no one getting in the way.

It’s a much more sustainable option already because it doesn’t depend on banks or countries – which really depend on corporations – to move money. It changes the dynamics of power by putting the power of choice into the hands of the people and diversifying. It gives more people a say in the global economy.

By saying “let’s put pressure on Kiva,” I think that’s a vote for not trusting the people. Instead, let’s consider another route. Education.

Instead of trying to get an institution to do anything, I say let’s talk to the people who want to make the investments and help educate them so that they are excited about putting their money where their values are.

It’s people that create change, not corporations. If you want the world to be different, here’s an easy, direct and straight-forward way to do that.


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