Monday, June 2, 2008

SUMMER PROJECT POST

Hello everyone! This is the first of my four posts over the summer around the theme of "Global Challenges: Narrowing the Gap between Developing and Developed Nations". I thought I'd start with an article from the Stanford University Alumni Magazine about Kiva, an online organization that allows people around the world to loan small amounts of money (as little as $25!) to other people in developing nations trying to start businesses to improve their lives. Here's the link to the article:

http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2007/novdec/features/kiva.html

If you choose this post as one of your four for your summer project, please read the article and comment on one or more of the following questions, keeping in mind the posting requirements on the summer project handout and criteria we established at our meeting:

Possible questions to consider:

Should we as people of the richest nation in the world lead the way in helping developing nations, simply because it's the right thing to do (moral idealism)? Or should we do it because we might get something in return (political realism)? What benefits might result from assisting developing nations?

Does Kiva refute the argument that technology isolates people? Why or why not?

Are you surprised that virtually everybody who receives a loan from Kiva pays it back? If so, why are you surprised? If not, why not? Are your personal biases about developing nations reflected in your response? What is your image of the typical loan recipient?

Why do you think Kiva has taken off the way it has?

Enjoy!

16 comments:

renegade3878 said...

This is Dillion Munson and I think that Kiva does refute that technology isolates people. If anything technology brings people closer together. Everyday we learn about something that has happened in Europe, Asia, and South America as soon as it happens, but if we didnt have technology it would take unimaginablly long to learn about the same news. At anytime you can get on the internet and talk to someone in any region of the world, now does that sound like technology is isolating people?

Ms. Stotler said...

Good thought, Dillion. But if we're just sitting at home on our computers, is that the same quality communication as face-to-face contact? Or does technology just provide us with an easy way out so we can avoid the messiness of human contact? Does cyber communication diminish the quality of our human relationships with each other? BTW, you need to know that I ALWAYS argue the other side, whether I actually agree with it or not. ;-)

Sabrina said...

I think as the richest country, we SHOULD help. Not only so that we can get something in return (which would be an AWESOME bonus), but also morally. I think we should just know when and how much to give. When we are in war really bad, we shouldn't give as much. That is a problem we have. We are eager to help other countries in need when we ignore what's in out own back yards. I also think that instead of wasting our precious tax dollars on nuclear weapons that we don't EVER use (we basically test them....THAT'S ALL!), we should also be helping our economy...and others if we can.

Ms. Stotler said...

Lots of people agree with you, Sabrina, that we should take care of problems in our own country, especially in this time of economic downturn, instead of sending so much money and resources overseas. I'm confused about your comments on nuclear weapons though; what does that have to do with aiding other nations?

Sabrina said...

If we didn't waste our money on things like that we could help them MORE! We even test them in countries where there aren't that many people when we could maybe put people there. Instead, they live in places where people shouldn't live.

Ms. Stotler said...

Oh....now I see the connection. But now I have MORE questions (I always do!). Which countries do we test our nuclear weapons in? Why and how would we "put people" in these other countries? Who lives in places that they shouldn't live, and why shouldn't they live there?

chenayakirsen said...

I looked at this article and was impressed by the way this non-profit organization is run. It seems like there is no room for corruption and actually helps the needy get started with there life. I think that many organizations just give out money and the people they give it to dont necessarily know what to do with the money. This organization also provides guidance and what to do with the money so that the people learn to sustain themselves without having to rely entirely on other people.
As one of the richest countries i also believe (along with sabrina) that we should take it upon ourselves to help other countries that are not as prosperous. Because, as it is mentioned, it is the right thing to do and also makes us like good to other countries. One of the issues with this though is that the US just needs to make sure it knows when to stop. As a powerful player we need to make sure that our power is secure and the money we give to help people is not just going to the government and we end up with a mongol/sung situation because, unfortunately, not all humans are moral and our nation has to be careful that our help is not used against us. (btw, i could not find the post guidelines...anyone????)

chenayakirsen said...

sorry i didnt realize the post was that long!!!!

Rickli said...

This is Andrew Rickli, I'm very suprised that the people on the other side of the world pay back they're loans. Most countries on the other side of the world are not wealthy at all. That makes me think that they would keep the extra money that they owed you and use it for something else.

If you received a loan from someone you didn't know at all from the other side of the world would you feel entitled to pay it back? I know that I wouldn't with the way gas prices are these days I need to get my hands on every nickle, and dime that I can.

Speaking of gas prices did anyone know that gas in France is $14 PER GALLON????

Ms. Stotler said...

Whoa, Chenaya...an AP World History reference (Mongols & Song)! How cool is that! Some questions for you (of course!): when you talk about how "we need to make sure the $ that is loaned actually goes to the people who need it", who is we? (Kiva is a private, non-profit organization, not a government entity). Can you give an example to substantiate your statement that "many organizations just give out money and the people they give it to dont necessarily know what to do with the money"?

By the way, the post guidelines are in the "Summer Guidelines" post from May. :-)

Ms. Stotler said...

Andrew, thanks for your comment. Question: if you needed money, and someone loaned you some, and you wanted them to loan you more money in the future, wouldn't you pay it back to make sure they would?

Yikes! Where did you get your information on gas prices in France? That's AWFUL! Hope we're not next!

drumlinebabyy10 said...

This is Mariah Ryan and I also agree that we should, as the richest country, help out. Lending out $25 isn't that big of a deal, especially when you know you'll get paid back. Not only are you getting a sense of you changing someone's life, but think about how much benifit the other person is getting. They are starting their lives because one person starts a chain. I also agree with Sabrina on the fact that we, as Americans, need to watch when we loan out the money. We are very quick to help developing countries when our country itself needs help. This organization sounds EXTREMELY fair and very well put together. It's going to help the people that are recieving the money to maintain it, as well as return it.

Are we going to try to send some money in for this organization?

Rickli said...

Yes Mrs. Stotler I would if they were sending me more than one loan. And Im not sure where in the world I got that about France I wasn't thinking straight obviously, because the average gas price in france is $6.05

Ms. Stotler said...

Andrew, good job verifying gas prices in France. Still, $6.05 a gallon is pretty awful! I wonder if we'll be paying the same soon... :-(

Rickli said...

I surly hope not I'm getting ready to get my license!!! :(

Ardath Osborne said...

No, I am not surprised to see that most of the loans are paid back. Kiva sounds like a very respectable, honest organization. I would assume that honest, dedicated people would participate in it. The people who want to get themselves out of poverty and simply need a little help to get started will most certainly pay back the money they owe. People won't take advantage of this organization.