So-called microcredit describes loans in very small amounts, under $1000 and often under $100. It is typically used to buy tools or livestock or other means of making an agricultural or simple artisan's living. It usually spreads in places where there is no actual banking, or where people have no clear land title or other proof of collateral.

No matter how benign the conditions of repayment, microcredit is a form of debt, and many groups and religions oppose debt on principle. Introducing debt to places where it is unknown brings people into dependence on outside market conditions where they never have been before. Some systems impose group responsibility, e.g. the Grameen Bank only lends to women in groups of five, and requires them to repay as a group.

The Global Microcredit Summit explores these issues.

[+] position: microcredit introduces debt slavery

[+] position: microcredit eases absolute poverty, and debt is an acceptable price

[+] position: microcredit replaces predatory lending