This series outlines issues on which Hillary Clinton was ahead of the curve, starting with microcredit. I have posted consistently on microcredit (here, here and here) but it is one obvious issue where HRC got it before everyone else.[...]
This is actually one of the things that surprised me when I read Muhammad Yunus’s book, Banker to the Poor.“It was not until the mid-1980s that people in the United States began showing real interest in applying Grameen principles to their own poverty problems. I supposed it all began in 1985, when Bill Clinton, then governor of Arkansas, was looking for ways to create new economic opportunities for the low-income people in his state. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s college roommate, Jan Percy, had just returned from working in Bangladesh with an American organization and was at the South Shore Bank in Chicago. She introduced the Clintons to Ron Grzywinski and Mary Houghton, Chicago-area bankers who had done much to convince the Ford Foundation to support Grameen.” (176)So, the four of them Bill and Hillary Clinton, Ron Grzywinski and Mary Houghton started meeting, according to Yunus, to design the plans for a bank that would provide microloans to the poor in Arkansas. The Clintons also invited Yunus and as he writes“As I spoke, both the governor and his wife were drawn into my story. After half an hour, Mrs Clinton declared, “We want it. Can we have it in Arkansas?” (…) Hillary Rodham Clinton’s support for the Grameen idea has never diminished. She visited us in Bangladesh in April 1995 and she has visited microcredit programs on three different continents. She also co-chaired the Microcredit Summit in 1997.” (176)Yunus then goes on to describe the details of putting together what is now the Southern Good Faith Fund, developed in partnership with South Shore Bank (check out their website if you are interested in socially responsible investments).
Now one with a brain would suggest that micro-credit is THE ultimate solution to solving global poverty, but it is one tool that can be used to do so alongside other policies. Yunus himself never stated that his idea is the panacea. He is much too smart for that. However, this is what I care about when I think of experience in a presidential candidate. I want someone who is intellectual smart and curious (even if the cool kids, the Village elders and now the Big Boyz Bloggerz think it’s soooo 90s). I want someone with a clear pulse on our global world and has the wherewithal to get in touch with the right people to get things done in a decisive fashion. (Emphasis mine)
Can I get an Amen?