Social Inclusion through Microenterprise Development
Elgar original reference
Karl Dayson Microfinance in Europe displays the characteristics of a continent divided for much of the twentieth century, with the MFIs in Eastern Europe linked to the economic renewal following the collapse of the Berlin Wall, while those in the West desired to include all within wealthy societies. It was noticeable that the chapters in microfinance in Eastern Europe took the early 1990s as the historical starting point. This was in sharp contrast with Western Europe where considerable stress was placed in antecedents from previous centuries. More specifically, both Italy and Portugal mentioned church-based charities in the fifteenth century, while Germany, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK chapters discussed the early cooperative societies during the Industrial Revolution. It would be unlikely that the cooperative movement was completely absent from Eastern Europe, though it is undoubtedly the case that the Industrial Revolution proceeded earlier in the West. What this historical discontinuity indicates is partially the authors’ own perspective, but also the cultural disconnection that occurred in Eastern Europe during the twentieth century. Thus, when capitalism was reintroduced, a new discourse on microfinance had to be established, much of which was imported from the USA. By contrast, the Western European nations were able to draw upon historical precedent for contemporary microfinance activity. This was undertaken because microfinance was associated with NGOs, particularly NGOs from the USA, which sought to promote economic growth in the developing world. To suggest a ‘reverse colonialization’ of policy carried political risks. Instead, supporters of MFIs sought...
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