Profiting the Poor or Profiting from the Poor?

[Matthew interviewed Nobel prizewinner Muhammad Yunus at the World Business Forum, held in New York’s spectacular Radio City Music Hall.] Yunus has done incredible things for the poor since he started the micro-finance movement with his Grameen Bank in Bangladesh back in the 1970s. But the philanthrocapitalism revolution has created a schism in the microfinance movement – Yunus believes that providing finance for the poor should be done on a social basis, not for profit (as he sets out in his recent book Creating a world without poverty: social business and the future of capitalism) whereas philanthrocapitalists like Pierre Omidyar say that the only way to take microfinance to a scale where it can help hundreds of millions of poor people is by turning it into a for-profit business. Yunus was unapologetic in his defence of microfinance from profit but he is increasingly isolated within the movement, as we discuss in the book.