OK, so I’m probably the last to hear about this, but a friend got me interested in Prosper, a micro-credit organization that facilitates loans between two independent parties.
In other words, you can loan someone $100 to get out of a bind at %15 interest. Someone might come along and offer them the same loan for 14%, so it relies on something of a reverse auction model.
In any case, this is another way that markets and social entrepreneurship are helping people. And don’t forget about the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid.