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"Can Microfinance Work? How to Improve Its Ethical Balance and Effectiveness" by Lesley Sherratt

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 30.3 (Fall 2016)

September 14, 2016

Detail from book cover

Review by Jonathan Morduch

Can Microfinance Work? How to Improve Its Ethical Balance and Effectiveness, Lesley Sherratt (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), 256 pp., $39.95 cloth.
doi:10.1017/S0892679416000307

By 2009 the reckless greed of subprime mortgage lenders in the United States had become clear. Housing prices had collapsed by 30 percent or more, and families, unable to keep up with their ballooning mortgage payments, were being forced from their homes. True, borrowers were guilty of poor judgment, but the quest of lenders to make a quick buck was the major factor in creating an ethical and financial disaster. Still, no one was really surprised by their behavior. After all, pursuing profit is what financial firms do.

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