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Natalie Portman Hopes Microfinance Will Be More Effective Than The Force At Helping Poor Folk

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Natalie Portman wants to use her MySpace diary to end poverty. She’s supporting a campaign to raise $200 million for Finca International, a pioneer in microfinance, the Financial Times reports today.
"I have seen that ending poverty is possible - it is just a mouse click away," Ms Portman said at the campaigns launch.
The Financial Times reports that Portman will contribute a video video diary about Finca for its MySpace page.
“People check their MySpace pages 10 times a day, why not harness that tool to build support for microfinance,” Portman says.
Why not? Perhaps because there is little evidence that microfinance is an effective way to reduce poverty, much less end it all together. Like many claims that begin with the phrase “I have seen,” Portman’s claim to have witnessed the end of poverty is most likely anecdotal evidence at best, if not outright hyperbole.
Portman’s first video is now available on Finca International’s Village Banking MySpace page.
Hollywood joins royalty to seek $200m for microfinance [Financial Times]
Village Banking [MySpace]

Earlier on DealBreaker

As It Turns Out, Lending Tiny Sums Of Money To Poor People May Not Bring Peace or Propsperity:
More Gratuitous Grameen Bashing [11.9.06]


So Maybe Greek CDS Will Be More Than Fine?

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah Greece. Okay so all systems appear to be go on the Greek debt exchange, which means its time to decide What This Means, and, I just. Really. Greece. Come on. All I want is to talk about 13D reporting requirements, and now I have to pay attention to Portugal? No. Just no.* Still here is arguably a fun factoid: On Wednesday, Swiss bank UBS AG started quoting a "gray market" in new Greek sovereign bonds ... using as a guide details of the debt swap Greece has put on the table for private investors to accept until Thursday evening. The "bid" price for a batch of future Greek bonds due in 2042, or the highest price the dealer was willing to pay, was around 15 cents on the dollar; the "offer" price, or the most the dealer was willing to sell at, was 17 cents on the dollar, the first person said. ... The prices quoted by UBS imply that losses private creditors to Greece will take are more like 79% of face value, not the original haircut of 70-75% many had expected. Yeah but. If you believe this horrible CDS mechanics stuff that various people including me have been yammering about for weeks - here is the best explanation - that means that if for some reason you had the foresight to be long Greek bonds and hold CDS against them you'd end up with a package worth (1) 21 on the bonds and (2) 83 on the CDS (assuming that the 17 offer for the 2042 bonds represents a real price for the cheapest-to-deliver new bond in the Greek auction) for (3) 104 total which is (4) more than par, so you win this particular game, yay. Which you were at risk of losing - a week ago one of our fearless commenters spotted the longest new bonds at 25ish vs. 24ish for the old-bond-y package, for a total of 99 for the hedged holder - losing 1 point versus par.**