Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

12

[...] The reality behind the microcredit hype is that the vast majority of those who took out a microloan to invest in some income-generating project ended up failing or else displacing other struggling informal microenterprises operating in the same sector.

The Power of a Dollar (9) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago

[...] The reality behind the microcredit hype is that the vast majority of those who took out a microloan to invest in some income-generating project ended up failing or else displacing other struggling informal microenterprises operating in the same sector.

—p.12 The Power of a Dollar (9) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago
18

But profitability is just one half of the explanation for the microcredit model’s widespread support among policymakers, politicians, and ordinary people. The issue of ideology is also central.

Microcredit is supremely attractive to the neoliberal development community and neoliberal politicians. Within these circles criticism of microcredit and the central role that individual entrepreneurship supposedly plays in the development process is simply not tolerated. Instead it is aggressively rebuffed, because such skepticism is, in essence, skepticism of capitalism itself.

This is the reason for the huge PR effort currently being mounted by the World Bank and others — and backed up by a range of like-minded politicians, foundations, and high-profile NGOs in the US and elsewhere — in support of “financial inclusion.” As Mader and Sabrow demonstrate, one of the financial inclusion project’s central goals is to physically rescue high-profile microcredit institutions from (deserved) obsolescence and closure.

The Power of a Dollar (9) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago

But profitability is just one half of the explanation for the microcredit model’s widespread support among policymakers, politicians, and ordinary people. The issue of ideology is also central.

Microcredit is supremely attractive to the neoliberal development community and neoliberal politicians. Within these circles criticism of microcredit and the central role that individual entrepreneurship supposedly plays in the development process is simply not tolerated. Instead it is aggressively rebuffed, because such skepticism is, in essence, skepticism of capitalism itself.

This is the reason for the huge PR effort currently being mounted by the World Bank and others — and backed up by a range of like-minded politicians, foundations, and high-profile NGOs in the US and elsewhere — in support of “financial inclusion.” As Mader and Sabrow demonstrate, one of the financial inclusion project’s central goals is to physically rescue high-profile microcredit institutions from (deserved) obsolescence and closure.

—p.18 The Power of a Dollar (9) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago
19

However, Kiva’s emphasis on providing small microloans only semi-directly (that is, through microcredit institutions) to micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries has almost nothing to do with actually fighting poverty. The “Kiva experience” is much more about Kiva supporters seeking a form of personal gratification by donating a small sum, as well as validation that their ideology (capitalism) actually works.

the inevitable question is then: well, even if Kiva isn't perfect, surely it's better than doing nothing at all? surely an easy, passive donation to Kiva is better than nothing? the answer might just be: no. it's not better than nothing. there is no easy or passive way to legitimately feel like you're making a difference. this sort of personal gratification requires either difficult sacrifice (in terms of time, and ideology) or self-delusion. what would be better than nothing is neither easy nor passive, and it requires transforming the entire structure

The Power of a Dollar (9) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago

However, Kiva’s emphasis on providing small microloans only semi-directly (that is, through microcredit institutions) to micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries has almost nothing to do with actually fighting poverty. The “Kiva experience” is much more about Kiva supporters seeking a form of personal gratification by donating a small sum, as well as validation that their ideology (capitalism) actually works.

the inevitable question is then: well, even if Kiva isn't perfect, surely it's better than doing nothing at all? surely an easy, passive donation to Kiva is better than nothing? the answer might just be: no. it's not better than nothing. there is no easy or passive way to legitimately feel like you're making a difference. this sort of personal gratification requires either difficult sacrifice (in terms of time, and ideology) or self-delusion. what would be better than nothing is neither easy nor passive, and it requires transforming the entire structure

—p.19 The Power of a Dollar (9) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago
33

[...] To take back the mantle of justice and equality, the Left must delegitimize private foundations and refute the centrality of charity in solving the world’s most pressing problems.

it's just govt redistribution/planning in terms of scale with none of the accountability

The Philanthropy Hustle (27) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago

[...] To take back the mantle of justice and equality, the Left must delegitimize private foundations and refute the centrality of charity in solving the world’s most pressing problems.

it's just govt redistribution/planning in terms of scale with none of the accountability

—p.33 The Philanthropy Hustle (27) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago
50

Membership in the BRICS is also key to China’s flexible geopolitical position. While the BRICS grouping has different meanings to different participants, for China it is part of a strategy to construct a counterpole to Western power — not through overthrowing the current global structures, but by bending them in China’s favor. Given the history of Western domination on their continent — and China’s (relative) lack of conditionalities and policy of non-interference — African political elites find this to be a relatively attractive alternative.

something I didn't really consider before but perhaps worth knowing

The New Scramble for Africa (45) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Membership in the BRICS is also key to China’s flexible geopolitical position. While the BRICS grouping has different meanings to different participants, for China it is part of a strategy to construct a counterpole to Western power — not through overthrowing the current global structures, but by bending them in China’s favor. Given the history of Western domination on their continent — and China’s (relative) lack of conditionalities and policy of non-interference — African political elites find this to be a relatively attractive alternative.

something I didn't really consider before but perhaps worth knowing

—p.50 The New Scramble for Africa (45) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago
75

[...] Shoppers can donate their bag credits — the five-cent rebate they receive by forgoing plastic bags — to a microfinance fund.

Combining this with traditional donations, Whole Foods hopes to raise $5 million to fund 40,000 small loans to “impoverished entrepreneurs” around the globe. They say that these direct financial transfers, unmediated by government agencies, can “empower the poor and the communities around them.”

a couple of things kinda obvious, but: Whole Foods does NOT need shoppers to "donate" anything; they are perfectly capable of donating excess profits on their own if they so choose to, without involving the consumer at all. this is just so blatantly PR-focused that i wanna vomit. reminds me of when BA makes its flight attendants collect donations for some children's charity why on earth would anyone believe that direct financial transfers (which require repayment) from shareholder-beholden corporations are a way of EMPOWERING the poor, compared to governments that are at least theoretically accountable to the people? surely the govt is always the right org for the job here, and if it's not, the solution should be to fix that problem first of all? whence does this libertarian belief that an institution NOT beholden to the people it's trying to serve is the best way to serve those people come from??? i am dying

Thinking Small Won’t End Poverty (75) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago

[...] Shoppers can donate their bag credits — the five-cent rebate they receive by forgoing plastic bags — to a microfinance fund.

Combining this with traditional donations, Whole Foods hopes to raise $5 million to fund 40,000 small loans to “impoverished entrepreneurs” around the globe. They say that these direct financial transfers, unmediated by government agencies, can “empower the poor and the communities around them.”

a couple of things kinda obvious, but: Whole Foods does NOT need shoppers to "donate" anything; they are perfectly capable of donating excess profits on their own if they so choose to, without involving the consumer at all. this is just so blatantly PR-focused that i wanna vomit. reminds me of when BA makes its flight attendants collect donations for some children's charity why on earth would anyone believe that direct financial transfers (which require repayment) from shareholder-beholden corporations are a way of EMPOWERING the poor, compared to governments that are at least theoretically accountable to the people? surely the govt is always the right org for the job here, and if it's not, the solution should be to fix that problem first of all? whence does this libertarian belief that an institution NOT beholden to the people it's trying to serve is the best way to serve those people come from??? i am dying

—p.75 Thinking Small Won’t End Poverty (75) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago
78

If community programs have consistently floundered, both in the past and today, what’s left? A return to the rule of experts? Bigger dams and better seeds? If faced with two approaches — that of the development expert, asking “What can we do for the poor?” and that of the community developer, asking “What can we do with them?” — then the grassroots approach seems at least less condescending.

Yet there is a third question that inhabitants of the Global North might ask, one that would be far more productive. “What have we been doing to them?”

That question implies a different framework, one that proponents of participatory development rarely consider. It raises the possibility that there might be some causal relationship between government policies in the Global North and the continued poverty of the Global South. Rather than focusing merely on poor people in poor places, it zooms out, capturing the North and South together through a wide-angle lens.

^^^^^

Thinking Small Won’t End Poverty (75) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago

If community programs have consistently floundered, both in the past and today, what’s left? A return to the rule of experts? Bigger dams and better seeds? If faced with two approaches — that of the development expert, asking “What can we do for the poor?” and that of the community developer, asking “What can we do with them?” — then the grassroots approach seems at least less condescending.

Yet there is a third question that inhabitants of the Global North might ask, one that would be far more productive. “What have we been doing to them?”

That question implies a different framework, one that proponents of participatory development rarely consider. It raises the possibility that there might be some causal relationship between government policies in the Global North and the continued poverty of the Global South. Rather than focusing merely on poor people in poor places, it zooms out, capturing the North and South together through a wide-angle lens.

^^^^^

—p.78 Thinking Small Won’t End Poverty (75) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago
85

[...] One consequence of rapid industrialization was bringing huge numbers of former peasants together into new factories where they rapidly got absorbed into trade unions and were quickly radicalized. But now since workers don’t stick around in the factory long enough to be politicized, to be drawn into organizations, it means that economic development and urbanization isn’t bringing with it a kind of radicalized working class the way you saw in the past.

that is actually quite a good insight and not really one I'd thought about before

Development From Below (81) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago

[...] One consequence of rapid industrialization was bringing huge numbers of former peasants together into new factories where they rapidly got absorbed into trade unions and were quickly radicalized. But now since workers don’t stick around in the factory long enough to be politicized, to be drawn into organizations, it means that economic development and urbanization isn’t bringing with it a kind of radicalized working class the way you saw in the past.

that is actually quite a good insight and not really one I'd thought about before

—p.85 Development From Below (81) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago
87

I think the first step towards that is to see that the fundamental problem these days is not North versus South, the fundamental problem is that in any country where working people try to raise their voice, the first power they come up against and they have to confront is their own ruling classes.

Development From Below (81) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I think the first step towards that is to see that the fundamental problem these days is not North versus South, the fundamental problem is that in any country where working people try to raise their voice, the first power they come up against and they have to confront is their own ruling classes.

—p.87 Development From Below (81) default author 4 months, 2 weeks ago