FINANCIAL ACCESS INITIATIVERESEARCH FRAMING NOTE
Credit Is Not a Right
unettered migration, reducing ination, and promoting GDP growth thatgenerates better jobs. Elevating microcredit to the status o a right risksdiluting the urgency o attention given to other interventions. We take seri-ously that such “negative spillovers” rom “rights creep” should be part othe conversation.The second part o the chapter shows evidence that access to credit maybe powerul or some people some o the time, but it is not powerul oreveryone all o the time, and in some cases it can do damage. When viewedin the light o independent empirical analysis, Yunus’s claim loses its urgen-cy. Providing microcredit may be an activity worth pursuing, but its claim tobeing a
is substantially diminished by the empirical results.The third part o the chapter discusses who has the responsibility to ensurerights. Muhammad Yunus takes a critical view o government, and micro-credit is oten depicted as a response to government ailure. We ask: I thegovernment is badly–placed to ulfll rights, does it make sense to createrights in the frst place? I accountability o non-state actors cannot beestablished, is it useul to adopt the rights ramework?The ourth part o the chapter turns instead to the right to non-discrimi-nation in credit access. Here, we see a stronger claim to attention. We puta ocus on combating the lack o access to credit due to discriminationalong gender, economic, ethnic, religious, and social lines.We suggest that Philip Alston’s point about a rights-based approach to de-velopment applies as well to the proposal to regard credit as a human right:Despite the importance o the many versions o a human rightsbased approach to development suggested by a variety o actors,too many o them have tended to gloss over the complexities, toidealize the characteristics o the human rights mechanisms, tobe excessively optimistic as to the extent o undamental changesthat may realistically be expected, and to be poorly attuned tothe need to set operational priorities.
While we are academics, the questions we raise emerge rom practicalconcerns. We ask whether a rights-based approach to microcredit will inact be eective in making quality, aordable credit more available to pooramilies. More importantly, we question whether it is a constructive stepin terms o the broader goal o global poverty reduction.
We ask whether arights-based approach tomicrocredit will in fact beeective in makingquality, aordable creditmore available to poorfamilies. More importantly,we question whether it is aconstructive step in termsof the broader goal ofglobal poverty reduction.
Human Rights Quarterly