The Rise and Fall of Global Microcredit: Development, debt and disillusion, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

The Rise and Fall of Global Microcredit

Development, debt and disillusion, 1st Edition

Edited by Milford Bateman, Stephanie Blankenburg, Richard Kozul-Wright


290 pages | 11 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138714120
pub: 2018-09-10
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pub: 2018-09-04
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pub: 2018-10-09
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In the mid-1980s the international development community helped launch what was to quickly become one of the most popular poverty reduction and local economic development policies of all time. Microcredit, the system of disbursing tiny micro-loans to the poor to help them to establish their own income-generating activities, was initially highly praised and some were even led to believe that it would end poverty as we know it. But in recent years the microcredit model has been subject to growing scrutiny and often intense criticism. The Rise and Fall of Global Microcredit shines a light on many of the fundamental problems surrounding microcredit, in particular, the short- and long-term impacts of dramatically rising levels of microdebt. 

Developed in collaboration with UNCTAD, this book covers the general policy implications of adverse microcredit impacts, as well as gathering together country-specific case studies from around the world to illustrate the real dynamics, incentives and end results. Lively and provocative, The Rise and Fall of Global Microcredit is an accessible guide for students, academics, policymakers and development professionals alike.


"This book provides a definitive, and much-needed, assessment of the microcredit movement: from the overselling of its modest initial promise, to its conversion into a new method of exploiting vulnerable people and communities, and to its misconceived embrace by global leaders and institutions. What cements this book’s importance for development policy and practice is that its critique is accompanied by an affirmation of the role of productive, accessible financing in sustainable development." -- Gary Dymski, Professor of Applied Economics, Leeds University Business School, UK

"This is a must-read book to understand the financialisation of the poor from the perspective of the global microcredit industry. The Post-2015 Agenda, supporting financial and digital inclusion to achieve development and to end with poverty, hides the profit obtained by microcredit institutions when granting credit to small entrepreneurs and to those with fewer resources. The problem with indebtedness and lack of payment of loans affects the poor, causing greater debt in crisis and recession periods. This provides important evidence and insight into what went wrong with microcredit." -- Alicia Girón, University Program of Asian and African Studies, UNAM, Mexico

"This unfailingly courageous and carefully researched book shatters the mythology around the microcredit myth that has captured the imagination and funding of the global development industry for far too long. It shines a bright light on the links between microcredit and rising indebtedness and financialised, rentier capitalism. Microcredit boosters take heed!" -- Ilene Grabel, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, USA

"This book provides the inconvenient truth about how market-based mechanisms are far from panaceas for today’s development problems. With rigorous detail, the volume parades through case after case of failed micro-credit ventures in country after country—even in Peru the ‘center of origin’ for many of the financialization of the poor [this] has more often than not led to yet another case of the further transfer of wealth and power from the poor." -- Kevin P. Gallagher, Director at the Global Development Policy Center, Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University, USA

Table of Contents




Notes on contributors

 Part I: An overview

  1. Introduction
  2. Milford Bateman, Stephanie Blankenburg and Richard Kozul-Wright

  3. Development prospects in an era of financialization
  4. Richard Kozul-Wright

  5. Microcredit and development
  6. Milford Bateman

    Part II: Country case studies

  7. Looking through the glass, darkly: Microcredit in Peru
  8. Matthew Bird

  9. Brazil – Latin America’s unsung hero
  10. Fernanda Feil and Andrej Slivnik

  11. Colombia: A critical look
  12. Daniel Munevar

  13. Mexico and the microcredit model
  14. Eugenia Correa and Laura Vidal

  15. Sustainability paradigm to paradox: a study of microfinance clients’ livelihoods in Bangladesh

  16. Mathilde Maitrot

  17. Cambodia – the next domino to fall?
  18. Milford Bateman

  19. The instability of commercial microcredit: Understanding the Indian crisis with Minsky

Philip Mader

11. Collective resistances to microcredit in Morocco

Solène Morvant-Roux and Jean-Yves Moisseron

12.Microcredit as post-apartheid South Africa’s own US-style sub-prime crisis

Milford Bateman

Part III: Policy implications

13. Financing development in the global economy post-2015: An alternative agenda

Stephanie Blankenburg

14. Conclusion

Milford Bateman, Stephanie Blankenburg and Richard Kozul-Wright

About the Editors

Milford Bateman, Visiting Professor of Economics, Juraj Dobrila at Pula University, Croatia, and Adjunct Professor of Development Studies, St Mary's University, Halifax, Canada.

Stephanie Blankenburg is Head of the Debt and Development Finance Branch, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, UNCTAD.

Richard Kozul-Wright is Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, UNCTAD.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Development Studies

The global crisis, coming at the end of three decades of uneven capitalist development and neoliberal globalization that have devastated the economies and societies of people across the world, especially in the developing societies of the global south, cries out for a more critical, proactive approach to the study of international development. The challenge of creating and disseminating such an approach, to provide the study of international development with a critical edge, is the project of a global network of activist development scholars concerned and engaged in using their research and writings to help effect transformative social change that might lead to a better world.

This series will provide a forum and outlet for the publication of books in the broad interdisciplinary field of critical development studies—to generate new knowledge that can be used to promote transformative change and alternative development.

The editors of the series welcome the submission of original manuscripts that focus on issues of concern to the growing worldwide community of activist scholars in this field.

To submit proposals, please contact the Development Studies Editor, Helena Hurd ([email protected]).

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Economic Development
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries