(The Humanitarian Social Network)
(Cracking out my hyper-radical discussion points, and this is kind of a brain-core dump, so its a little disorganized and off the cuff. Thanks for sparking this interesting discussion in my head! :-) )
Re: Micro Credit as failure. I would see it less of a failure/trust issue as "training" for a "credit using future" -- I would argue that the point is not entirely to "raise people out of poverty" and really ushering in a different way of using money. In European monetary history, to create this cultural shift, they did stuff like reducing the amount of small denominations, so that you had to start 'lines of credit' at local shops/lenders to buy things like bread, and eggs, which could not be purchased for a whole gold coin. These slippery strategies will continue until the new culture is adopted and the old ones and the culturally selected values are lost.
Also, culturally speaking, I'm not into the idea of giving the money to the poor, because it creates a dependency on a limited and mysterious resource. It also assumes that they actually *need* the money (as opposed to community structures, reinforcing cultural values that aren't deeply rooted in individualism/new culture) to make us/donor/manager types feel better or productive (or give us some control over what the values are shifting to!)
I do like the question about "are you poor because you are lazy, or is it structural?" And this points to an attitude about what the culture 'should be' which points to a judgement, not an actual beneficiary defined "need." -- which points again, to the poor not being trusted because we can't see the way they do things as valuable. If I recall properly, and in my experience people don't trust other people whom we perceive as having less, when we have something to lose-- at least in my western nature, so maybe its worth seeing the "poor" as having something more, that *we* are lacking... so that we can *actually* trust them. (Modern Fable - The Fisherman and the Business Man)
(I can't speak to the disability connection, because its not my thing... but again, it depends on what folks view as ability. Is the idea of happiness so rooted in spandex wearing, that if someone cannot run/walk a marathon with you, that there is a block in an individual's/or organization's ability to perceive them as happy? -- As a fat-girl, I get that sort of reaction all the time -- there is a perception that they/the viewer knows better about my body, my health and mobility and my surgical options, that it is the idea of my body as an automatic and data driven (and don't get me started on the BMI) point of suffering rather than a point of joy, or a point of sickness instead of a different way to be healthy... which that points to the fear of the viewer imposed (not very trusting) on the viewed. With some exceptions for epidemics, It gets pretty dis-empowering, actually to be told that I can't be happy because I'm not like XYZ in one way or another.
Which bringing it back to the development conversation, "If we continue to see poor people as the architects of their own predicament..." is begun with "seeing it as a predicament" rather than an "unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable to us way of life." Because from what I know they WERE the architects of their own predicaments "unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable to us way of lives" and it was their lives, and depending on the group/culture/person is the empowering methods ones that make the predicament our problem because sometimes the expats can't see people who don't live with the things as happy?