An anniversary is often a way to look backward and refer to what has
been achieved. But it can also be a good time for developing a vision
of what the future could/should be. This is the perspective we chose for this
dialogue. Building on what the past has taught us, Jonathan Morduch, one of
the most respected academics in the field of microfinance and financial
inclusion, gives us his perception of what the future of this field could be and
how it could contribute to make a better world.ML: Mondes en développement is, roughly speaking, 50 years old. Before we begin
discussing microfinance, let’s step back. Which elements during the past five decades of
international development are most important for understanding microfinance?
JM: First, bon anniversaire to Mondes en développement! The 50 years and 200 issues
of the journal are a great accomplishment. Congratulations. Those 200 issues
also open a window through which to see shifting debates and
understandings—both for microfinance and for international development.
François Perroux’s Issue number 1, which launched in 1973, is striking.
Looking back, 1973 was a pivotal year for international development – and it
was important too for microfinance. Issue number 1 was arranged around the
theme of “unequal development,” and two essays were contributed by
Gunnar Myrdal, the Swedish economist and 1974 Nobel laureate. His first
essay was on a “more realistic” theory of development, and his second was
on “the world poverty problem…