Every day, central authorities loose a little more power. Whether their power was delegated or co-opted, we needed them to make decisions because there was no way to organize mass, non-local movements on a peer basis. Every day, technological improvements and personal attitudes lower the barrier to peer-to-peer information sharing, product production, collective action and learning.
I’ll be writing a lot about this.
A few weeks ago, I was visiting with a Unitarian Universalist minister of the generation ahead of me — my Christian colleagues would all know him if I mentioned his name — who spoke about how much money his church would likely raise for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.
I challenged him: what go do they do that others don’t do more effectively? He cited their funds distribution. I repeated my point in so many words and neither convinced the other.
I think I mentioned Kiva to him, but perhaps not by name. It is essentially a broker between individuals in wealthy nations who lend money to poorer persons developing or improving businesses in other countries. There was an exciting documentary about it on Frontline World a little while back and they get great press. Also, I’ve not found anything to suggest they’re shady or mismanaged.
In twelve minutes, including the time I took to resize a picture of me — a bit of vanity, I admit — I loaned four women $25 each. (I also gave $10 to Kiva for administration costs, which they requested; 10% seems fair.) You can read about them here, and they can read about me. I’ll follow their progress, offer encouragement when I can. They repay the loans. I can reclaim the cash (but plan to reinvest it.) In time, the borrowers might become lenders themselves.
Quite a different way of looking at relationships and supporting a right way of living.
Thanks for pointing this out. I think it’s a great idea and a good way to bring some visibility to the specific needs of people, rather than just tossing money into a void.