Finance and money at the service of society
Microfinance links up savers who want to invest in activities with strong social benefits and project initiators who do not have enough access to conventional funding. Its main function is to help the poor and excluded, and is now widely recognized as a lever for development that contributes to the fight against poverty. The fact that it has a dual purpose means that it should be able to balance both social and financial performance. The institutionalization of MicroFinance Institutions (MFIs) and strong pressure exerted on funders to focus on short-term profitability have often led the sector to give financial results priority over the creation of social ties and social capital among the destitute.
As Bernard Lietaer points out, national currencies and conventional monetary systems serve, by definition, to generate competition and are founded on the principle of artificially-maintained scarcity. The way that a society creates and generates money has a far-reaching impact on that society’s values and human relations. In response to recurring financial crises as well as environmental, climate and energy crises, a number of what are known as alternative, social, solidarity, local, allocated, complementary or plural currencies have emerged over the last 30 years. These currencies propose alternative mechanisms for creating and managing money.