25 January 2010

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PORTFOLIOS OF THE POOR

HOW THE WORLD'S POOR LIVE ON $2 A DAY


About forty percent of the world’s people live on incomes of two dollars a day or less. If you’ve never had to survive on an income so small, it is hard to imagine. How would you put food on the table, afford a home, and educate your children? How would you handle emergencies and old age? Portfolios of the Poor is the first book to explain systematically how the poor find solutions.


The authors report on the yearlong “financial diaries” of villagers and slum dwellers in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa. The stories of these families are often surprising and inspiring. Most poor households do not live hand to mouth, spending what they earn in a desperate bid to keep afloat. Instead, they employ financial tools, many linked to informal networks and family ties. Their experiences reveal new methods to fight poverty and ways to envision the next generation of banks for the “bottom billion.”


Indispensable for those in development studies, economics, and microfinance, this book will appeal to anyone interested in knowing more about poverty and what can be done about it.


“[The authors’] scrupulous attention to actual behavior … makes this book invaluable” New Yorker / “A fascinating new book” New York Times / “The research provides evidence of the sophistication with which poor people think about their finances” Economist / “A refreshingly distinct path…In the war against global poverty, that feels like one small battle won” Washington Post


Daryl Collins is a senior associate at Bankable Frontier Associates in Boston. Jonathan Morduch is professor of public policy and economics at New York University. Stuart Rutherford is the author of The Poor and Their Money, and founder of SafeSave, a microfinance institution in Bangladesh. Orlanda Ruthven recently completed a doctoral degree in international development at the University of Oxford.


Paperback/ Rs 325/ ISBN 81-7824-289-3 / South Asia rights only/ Copublished with Princeton University Press

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