What is the greatest amount of good you can do with a single dollar?
This probing piece on Slate examines that quesiton and concludes “that the best way to spend a little money helping the world’s poorest citizens is not to spend the money at all, but to lend it. A variety of nonprofit (read: tax-deductible) organizations, such as Acción International, make small loans—perhaps $100—to individuals in Third World countries who use the money to start or expand tiny, often home-based businesses.”
I have been a micro-lending fan since the early 1990s when a parish I belonged to started a village bank with our companion parish in El Salvador. I love this sort of program in part because the amounts of money involved ar so small that almost any community, no matter how small, can afford to give it a try.
I wrote a column about micro-lending (among other things) during my Beliefnet days.
Feel free to weigh in here on the Slate piece, the column, or the effectivenss of micro-lending.