Q&A Muhammad Yunus

In 1974, Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus began making tiny loans to the rural poor. The success of his charity led him to found Grameen Bank, pioneering microcredit. Yunus spoke to TIME's Ishaan Tharoor last week, moments before learning he and Grameen had won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.

When did the microcredit idea dawn on you?

In 1974, there was a famine in the country. I felt empty because my knowledge in economics meant little to the people suffering. Villagers had to borrow from loan sharks on terrible conditions--some even becoming slave labor for the moneylenders. I made a list of...

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