Microfinance and Ethics: Three Pivotal Questions (Blog)
July 4, 2013 Editor 0
By Asad Mahmood
Allow me to pose a question that Socrates may have asked: “What is ethics, and how is it related to the conscience of our society?” Though philosophers around the world no doubt have erudite answers to this question, people with little, if any, knowledge of philosophy use conscience to define ethical norms. But the key here is that our conscience is evolving. Ethics may seem slow to change at times, but it is an important guidepost for the development of our society and always a precursor to the laws we develop. It is quite possible that we are fully within the domain of our laws and yet unethical.
So what are the important ethical questions around microfinance? There are three that are central to the debate:
- Is it ethical to do business with the poor or earn profit from poor people?
- Is it ethical to maximize profit when doing business with the poor?
- Do we have an ethical responsibility to avoid harming poor people in the process?
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Categories: Social Innovation
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