The spirit of Muhammad Yunus is taking yet another beating. Chuck and I have written in defense of the concept and practice of microlending before, despite its flaws; chiefly, that there are inscrupulous microfinance companies that take advantage of the poverty-stricken. Under these conditions microlending is just one more way to take advantage of the world's poor.

Free Toaster When You Open a PennyPincher (TM) Goat Savings Account

If money is the root of all evil and goats are the incarnate of evil, then why not use them interchangably? Well, you can. Some enterprising entrepreneurs in rural Korawan, India have established a bank that maintains goats as currency. It makes utter and complete sense -- don't say it doesn't, Western Yankee. NDTV reports of a woman named Prema and some of her fellow villagers have assembled some goats that they loan to woman in the village looking to make extra cash for their families selling goat's milk.

It's unusual to be involved in something we've podcasted on. We've done a podcast on Muppets, and while both of us know live-hand puppets like Ernie from Sesame Street are operated, neither one of us have ever had our hand in one. We know from our podcast that there are about 120 dead bodies on Mt. Everest, but we've never seen them. We know that Einstein's brain was kept in a jar for decades, the ins and outs of mortgage-backed securities, that the FDA doesn't regulate herbs and that there are some decent theories explaining spontaneous human combustion, but none of these things mean what microlending has to Stuff You Should Know.

Why We Microlend at Team SYSK (Part I)

We remember the first time we came across Mohammad Yunus. It was when we recorded a podcast based on an article on microlending Josh wrote for HowStuffWorks. Awesome, we thought; this story has a hero. If you haven't read the article (you can here, if you like), Mohammed Yunus is a Bangladeshi economist who won the Nobel Prize in 2006 for his work establishing nontraditional lending programs to serve nontraditional borrowers: women, the rural poor, the illiterate -- exactly the people mainstream banks overlooked because they were too high-risk or the amount they borrowed was too paltry.

Podcast Goodness: Geocaching and Microloans

Goooooood Morning Vietnam! I'm assuming we have some listeners from Vietnam -- sorry to exclude the rest of you. I hope everyone in the SYSK Nation has had an inspiring week. The weather has broken somewhat here in Atlanta, and while the crisp wisps of fall have not yet arrived in full, we're getting a small taste of the autumn goodness to come. So with the weather report out of the way...

Microlending is a practice that provides funds for entrepreneurs in developing countries who couldn't normally get loans. Tune in as Josh and Chuck discuss the pros and cons of microlending in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.