Poverty by Muhammad Yunus (PublicAffairs, 1999)
Economist Muhammad Yunus is the founder of Grameen Bank, arguably the most successful microlending institution in the world. His book achieves three things: One, it vividly describes the hardships of the people at the ï¿œbottom of the pyramidï¿œ and their capability to manage with limited resources.
Two, it inspires us to believe that one person can make a difference in the world and thatï¿œthreeï¿œmarket-based solutions are better in solving the worldï¿œs problems. It convinces us that a business (in this case a lending institution) with an innovative business model concentrating on the poor can be a billion-dollar businessï¿œand economically sustainable.
The central message Yunus is sending is that poor people are no different from rich people in terms of capabilities. Institutions are what matter: ï¿œIf you go out into the real world, you cannot miss seeing that the poor are poor not because they are untrained or illiterate but because they cannot retain the returns of their labor. They have no control over capital, and it is the ability to control capital that gives people the power to rise out of poverty.ï¿œ