Microfinance has been so successfully hyped to the general public that people with no experience in development will ask me (upon finding out about my background in development): Oh, you must really be excited about microfinance?! Instead of going into a long story, I can now refer them to Milford Bateman's comprehensive survey and exposé of the microfinance business. When so much of the finite aid resources are diverted into such feel-good programs with little, if any, developmental impact, then the whole fad becomes something of an anti-development trap. For some time, there has been fragmented evidence that microcredit is way over-hyped as an instrument of development, but Bateman pulls it all together and connects the microfinance fad with the underlying neoliberal themes of so much official development assistance. It's a timely, much-needed, and must-read book for anyone interested in the problems of development assistance. --David Ellerman, author of Helping People Help Themselves: From the World Bank to an Alternative Philosophy of Development Assistance.
Microfinance has suffered too long from unthinking enthusiasm, but some negative views are beginning to make themselves heard. Bateman is the first, however, to examine microfinance critically and coherently as a whole, and to take a sceptical long term view of its social and economic effects. Few readers will agree with everything he writes, but anyone who has any connection with microfinance should read this book. It should make us all think more clearly about what we are doing. --Malcolm Harper, Cranfield School of Management
DO NOT READ THIS BOOK - if you wish to retain the myths attached to microfinance rather than enjoy and appreciate the best available scholarly, reasoned and readable critique. --Ben Fine, SOAS
About the Author
Milford Bateman is a freelance consultant specialising in local economic development policy, particularly in relation to the Western Balkans. He has worked as a consultant for most of the major international development agencies and for several of the major international NGOs. He is also currently a Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Juraj Dobrila at Pula, Croatia.