The Washington Times
Saturday, June 26,1999

There are some people in the world who just donít seem to fi frankly most of the time they donít even try to Just when youíve got them ideologically typeset as liberal, they do something conservative. When youíre absolutely confident that their ideas are thoroughly absured and unworkable they stun the world with their success and practicallty.

If that gente of human being confuses you Itís probahly best you donít focus too much on Muhammad. of Bangladesh Naglivllie and the would.

As the founder and facilitator of the " mlero credll movement Ďí that laswept the world aince 1976 giving loans to the poorcst of the poor and disproving shibboleth after shibboleth presumably Mr. Yunus would be in favor of welfare for the poor in industrialized countrles After all those payments too help the poor To the contrary , the soft spoken but outspeken Mr. Yunus hates welfare with an inner passion belied by his outward modesty" When we started working with inicrocredit in the rich countries the united states, the united kingdomm France norway, Sweden Ė people said It wouldnít be relevant in the rich countries, I said it would be more relevant because the rich countries try to glass over the poor with weliare, I said this is inerently wrong because it takes the initiative away from people , It sucks people in and thereís no way to get out. Itís even more relevant because itís so shameful.

"Welfare is a kind of human zoo" he went on " They treat the poor like they are animals in a zoo. You feed them, but you have no usc for their human faculties.

"Access to micro- credit brings out the potential in human beings" he explained " the nbility to care for yourself. At the time that I started. I didnít have large experience , but increasingly, with what I saw, my trust in huan abilities has really grown. I saw people with no skills and all of a sudden , they just started flowering all over. This is why I have a belief that we can create a world fice of poverty- and that it is not some thing that government has to dishout"

Finally, there is his success in applying his ideas to the real world and here there isno confusion at all.Mr. Yunusí worldwide movement of providing tiny amounts of credit to the poorest of the poor and thus giving them the responsibility and the possibllity for making what they will of their lives has been a bonn fide success.

As he outlines in his autobin graphical " Banker to the poor" Mr. Yunus efforts supported by his Grameen Bank Bank , which began with loans of pennles, this year will provide $2.7 billion to poor people all over the world. more than 90 percent of the loans go to women , and 98 percent of them are swiftly repaid. The movement has been central in lauching other social revelations, such as voting and population control.

Most importand- and in a turn of veents that will delight many onlookers.- the Grameen Bank loans use no lawyears and no paperwokr. As Mr. Yunus, who was originally an economics Chittagong unversity. says, the word credit means trust.

All well and good, but one must ask As productive us the whole micro credit movement has been (It is now operative in 60 countries), do its unusual elements represent some deeper way of thinking about social transformation in the poor countries of the East or in the inner cities of the West They do.

Throughout most of this century attempts to help the poor have emanated from the center, whether the centralized core of communism or the welfare stataes of western liberal democranies. Daddy government knew best. The poor themselves were simply bypassed. What values or principles could the possibly have?

With Mr. Yunus and his ideas , it became clear how barren these philosophies were His ideas, and their extraordinarily successful implementation show common aeuse and an appeal to (and a demand for) personal responsibility can work miracles

As nother examplc of his reachm try texas Gov. George W. Bush, whuse already imple mented social policies include those Yunus traits of personal responsibility backed up by honest heko from government and others, Or, if thatís not enoughm try the clintons, Hillary Clinton was prominently photograhped on one of her Asian trips, in Asian dress enthusiastically endorsing micro-credit.

Meanwhile, Muhammad. still only57, has set another goal for his movement Today, micro- credit reaches 12 million families, by 2005, he plans on reaching 100 million.