A Billion Bootstraps unearths the roots of the microcredit revolution, revealing how the pioneering work of people such as Dr. Muhammad Yunus-winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize-is giving hope to billions. Philanthropist and self-made millionaire Phil Smith and microcredit expert and consultant Eric Thurman provide a riveting narrative that explores how these small loans, arranged by “barefoot bankers,” enable impoverished people to start small businesses, support their families, and improve local economies. By paying back their loans instead of simply accepting handouts, men and women around the world are continually giving others the same opportunity to change their futures.
Smith and Thurman also examine why traditional charity programs, while providing short-term relief, often perpetuate the problems they are trying to alleviate, and how applying investment principles to philanthropy is the key to reversing poverty permanently.
A Billion Bootstraps explains how ordinary people can accelerate the microcredit movement by investing charitable donations in specific programs and then leveraging those contributions so the net cost to lift one person out of poverty is remarkably low. You'll discover how to get more for your money by donating with the mind-set of an investor and calculating measurable returns-returns that will change lives and societies forever.
Comprised of case studies of the War in Iraq, the Gulf War, and the Suez Crisis, Why War? decodes the cultural logic of the narratives that justify military action. Each nation, Smith argues, makes use of binary codes—good and evil, sacred and profane, rational and irrational, to name a few. These codes, in the hands of political leaders, activists, and the media, are deployed within four different types of narratives—mundane, tragic, romantic, or apocalyptic. With this cultural system, Smith is able to radically recast our "war stories" and show how nations can have vastly different understandings of crises as each identifies the relevant protagonists and antagonists, objects of struggle, and threats and dangers.
The large-scale sacrifice of human lives necessary in modern war, according to Smith, requires an apocalyptic vision of world events. In the case of the War in Iraq, for example, he argues that the United States and Britain replicated a narrative of impending global doom from the Gulf War. But in their apocalyptic account they mistakenly made the now seemingly toothless Saddam Hussein once again a symbol of evil by writing him into the story alongside al Qaeda, resulting in the war's contestation in the United States, Britain, and abroad.
Offering an innovative approach to understanding how major wars are packaged, sold, and understood, Why War? will be applauded by anyone with an interest in military history, political science, cultural studies, and communication.