The rise of the ‘new economy' in many of the advanced capitalist states since the 1970s has entailed a re-organization of global social and political relations generally. These changes become apparent in analyses that focus on trends and shifts in the global political economy. In the context of these adjustments, discourses of ‘poverty reduction' have come to prominence, with a particular financially steered strategy emerging as a key approach to ‘poverty reduction' on a global scale, namely microcredit. I argue that the microcredit approach to poverty reduction is strategically embedded in the global political economy. It has been appropriated primarily to facilitate the implementation of financial sector liberalization on a global scale. Additionally, the contexts in which these programmes are implemented also reflect the motive of achieving a form of social disciplining aimed at commanding compliance for neo-liberal restructuring more generally. I develop this argument through an analysis of the way in which microcredit is located in – and implemented through – the institutional policy framework of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the consequent implications this has for the realization of the wider objectives of these institutions in global politics. The argument elucidates the relationship between efforts to advance the imperatives of the ‘new economy', the microcredit approach to poverty reduction, and the (re)-production of social risk.
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