Say you want to make loans to millions of poor women in the developing world, to help them climb out of poverty.
Is it OK to raise money from rich investors, who expect to make a profit?
Muhammad Yunus, the father of microfinance, says no. If you have investors who expect profits, you'll ultimately turn into something more like a loan-shark than a do-gooder.
Vikram Akula, founder of SKS Microfinance — a company that had an IPO earlier this year — says raising money from profit-seeking investors is the only way to spread microfinance quickly around the world.
On today's Planet Money, Akula and Yunus hash out their differences.
The podcast is adapted from a panel discussion that Adam Davidson moderated at last week's Clinton Global Initiative.
For more on the Yunus-Akula debate, check out this blog post from David Roodman, who's working on a book about microfinance.
Here's the panel in its entirety:
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