The Price of a Dream tells the remarkable story of the Grameen Bank, the groundbreaking "village bank" that has revolutionized the way people around the world fight poverty. The Bank's modelproviding collateral-free "micro-loans" for self-employment to millions of women villagers in Bangladeshhas inspired and shaped the thinking of economists, policy makers, business people, development workers and a generation of social entrepreneurs. Both liberal and conservative policy circles have championed the Bank's ability to transform the lives of its clients and help them escape the vicious cycle of deep economic hardship.
Drawing upon interviews with villagers, development workers, economists, and the Bank's founder Muhammad Yunusa recipient of numerous humanitarian awardsthe book shows how the Grameen Bank grew from an experiment in one village to an organization that lends billions of dollars in small individual loans.
Described by its founder, Muhammad Yunus, as a "socially conscious capitalist enterprise," the much-lauded Grameen Bank in Bangladesh seems to be one of the Third World's brightest success stories. By viewing poor people as potential entrepreneurs, the bank has helped village people, especially women, to better their lives in small but significant ways. Bornstein, a Canadian journalist based in New York City, provides an episodic, sometimes choppy portrait of Grameen, Yunus and some of the people whose lives have been affected by the bank. Bornstein's portrait isn't all rosy, however. He hedgingly describes conflicting opinions on whether the bank, which receives significant amounts of grants and low-cost loans, could survive on its own. And, since many American organizations have been studying Grameen, he awkwardly assays the burgeoning "microcredit" movement that aims to provide loans to the poor here. The lesson of Grameen, he concludes, is not extrapolation from abroad but the importance of seeking new solutions to and institutions for complex social problems. (May)