The original intent of microfinance—to assist the poor excluded from conventional banks by providing them access to financial services—attempted to correct social and market failures that were unfair to certain groups of people. This idea of conventional banking turned upside down to help those people excluded was inspiring and has captivated the world. Yet, its initial fiery rhetoric has dissipated. The outing of banks as elitist is what most Afro-Caribbean people can resonate to as it has been their banking experience.
Economy and Development
The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games are making history in a number of ways. They will be the first Olympic Games hosted on the South American continent. Second, they have shown the worst preparation for the games in Olympic history. This chaos has played a large factor in neglecting the Legacy Projects that were promised as part of the 2016 Olympic Games.
Starting in the 70s, during the 80s and, more decisively in the 1990s, most Latin American countries implemented reforms conducive to the instauration of neoliberalism, as much in an macroeconomic and institutional frame as in the organization of key social services. This included the privatization of public companies, removing foreign exchange controls, reducing import tariffs, reforming labor law, liberating capital markets, reforming the market for services and goods and negotiating free trade agreements.
Industrialized countries, national officials, transnational corporations, and multilateral banks have developed a new consensus model of development using mega-projects. This new investment model continues to undermine current social and environmental safeguards.
The funding of sub-national government as part of strategies to decentralise administrative structures is usually considered as a condition for success. Without a degree of fiscal autonomy, local government is unable to exercise latitude in the choice of spending priorities that comes with the delegation of authority and responsibility. However, as the recent experience of Peru shows, fiscal decentralisation is far from problem-free, especially when democratic, participative and accountable layers of government are largely missing.
The Brazilian Congress returns to work this week after a recess and faces news that the industrial sector has fallen yet again. Congress has been pushing the Senate to vote on tax raises on Brazilian companies in order to avoid a national credit downgrade.1 Since the industrial sector has fallen in many sectors, including automobile and informatics technology manufacturing, this push from congress is necessary in order for the country to evade a full blown economic recession.2