Asset Building Program

Archives: Asset Building Program Articles and Op-Eds

Selling Organs to Pay Off Debt: Microfinance Needs Reforms

  • By
  • Vishnu Sridharan,
  • New America Foundation
January 9, 2012 |

When Muhammad Yunus won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work on microfinance with the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, he would have been mortified to know that a version of his model would one day force his country’s poor into the organ trade. At the time, microfinance (particularly the practice of giving small loans to the unsalaried poor with low to no collateral) was revered for its ability to “do good while doing well.” In other words, it enabled people to escape poverty while turning a profit.

Cordray Has Received Bipartisan Support

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
January 6, 2012 |

The CFPB is the law of the land. The agency was created last year when the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was passed by Congress and signed by the president. This is how laws are made. It says so in the Constitution. A minority of senators can't decide on their own to nullify the law. And tellingly, few are raising the objection that Richard Cordray is unqualified for the post. In fact, he has received glowing and bipartisan support, especially from those he worked when he served as attorney general for Ohio.

I’ve Got My Eye on You

  • By
  • Jamie Holmes,
  • New America Foundation
December 14, 2011 |

Call 2011 the year of the biometric ID. Once the territory of high-security enclaves and spy novels, identification by iris scan, fingerprint, and other unique physical features has now become de rigueur around the world—especially in India, whose program to ID every citizen has been the subject of almost giddy reports about the technology's potential to democratize society. The New York Times described India's biometric database as "building real citizenship" for the first time. Wired emphasized how biometrics can finally bring the disenfranchised into the formal economy.

How Technology Helped Spur a Quiet Revolution in Emergency Aid

  • By
  • Vishnu Sridharan,
  • New America Foundation
October 24, 2011 |

Since July, at least 745 people have been killed and 8 million affected by monsoon rains and flooding across Southeast Asia. In response to the floods of the past week, a number of countries pledged assistance: U.S. Marines arrived in Bangkok last Saturday with equipment and sandbags; China has provided 64 rescue boats and water-purifying equipment; Japan has come forward with tents, blankets, mattresses and electricity generators.

Congress: Don't Squander America's Big Investment Opportunity

  • By
  • Rachel Black,
  • New America Foundation
October 21, 2011 |

Two years into economic recovery from the Great Recession, over 46 million Americans live in poverty, including 16 million children, according to the latest data released by the US Census Bureau. But beyond these staggering numbers, the report also clearly identifies a key investment opportunity that could produce higher incomes, lower rates of poverty, a more resilient labor force, and even higher tax revenue.

Got Cheap Milk?

  • By
  • Charles Kenny,
  • New America Foundation
September 19, 2011 |

As the U.S. government starts planning budget reductions that will slash everything from defense spending to health care to bridge repair, potential cuts worth around 0.00025 percent of the value of the deficit reduction agreed on in the recent $2 trillion deal appear to have garnered outsized attention: support to farmers' markets. Those $5 million of subsidies are likely to disappear as part of cuts in the 2012 farm bill, and that is provoking much concern.

Red Dawn

  • By
  • Charles Kenny,
  • New America Foundation
September 6, 2011 |

Henry Kissinger's 2001 book Does America Need a Foreign Policy? opens with the observation that "[a]t the dawn of the new millennium, the United States is enjoying a preeminence unrivaled by even the greatest empires of the past.

Cloudy with a Chance of Insurgency

  • By
  • Charles Kenny,
  • New America Foundation
August 29, 2011 |

As the East Coast of the United States was pounded by a hurricane over the weekend, mere days after an earthquake had cracked monuments and upset lawn furniture from Virginia Beach to Baltimore, Mother Nature was once again front-page news across the country.

How to Learn Self-Control

  • By
  • Jamie Holmes,
  • New America Foundation
August 28, 2011 |

Before she was a star musician, Amanda Palmer worked as a living statue. Standing perfectly still, she'd pose in the middle of Harvard Square, dressed as a bride, and through insults, lobbed objects, meddling drunks, and distracting jokes, she'd practice the art of nonreaction for hours on end.

How a 20-Minute HIV Test Could Save Millions of Lives

  • By
  • Jamie Holmes,
  • New America Foundation
August 15, 2011 |

Five years ago, hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Kenya in tribute to a murdered 15-year-old orphan boy, Isaiah Gakuyo. An uncle had apparently stabbed Isaiah with a pitchfork because the boy was HIV positive - the child’s mother and grandmother had both passed away from AIDS-related diseases.

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