"A much-needed, critical and global perspective on financial inclusion – a highly-contested term – that draws on a range of empirical case studies from across the world. Essential reading for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of this important concept and focus for policy." – Karen Rowlingson, University of Birmingham
Without access to mainstream financial services, people pay more for goods and services and have less choice. The impacts of exclusion are not just financial but also affect education, employment, health, housing, and overall well-being.
Limited access to financial services also impedes economic development in impoverished communities, which has prompted policy-makers, private institutions and NGOs to develop strategies to address financial inclusion. Drawing on a series of illustrative case studies – from India’s micro-credit industry to mobile banking in South Africa – Samuel Kirwan examines the various types of policy implementation in developed and developing countries, and considers the social impact and efficacy of such economic intervention. While acknowledging the risks and pitfalls of government-backed and private financial inclusion practices, the book makes a strong case for the value of financial inclusion both as a conceptual term for clarifying the stakes of material poverty and as a policy tool that creates a space for meaningful changes in economic practices.
The book provides valuable insight into the role of government policy in combatting inequality and is a welcome resource for researchers examining the socio-economic dimensions of poverty and attempts to address it.
1. Introduction 2. What is financial inclusion? 3. Financial inclusion as a tool of poverty eradication 4. Financial inclusion as the production of new markets 5. Financial inclusion as "financial subjectivity" 6. Financial inclusion as political project 7. Financial inclusion as transformations in financial practice 8. Conclusion
Samuel Kirwan is Lecturer in Criminology and Social Policy at the University of Bristol.