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Trade versus Democracy: A False Dichotomy

TEAR Fund Press Release

For Immediate Release: 29/11/05

Trade versus Democracy: A False Dichotomy

TEAR Fund New Zealand considers the current debate between Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon and Prime Minister Helen Clark over trade versus democracy misplaced.

“Far from a ‘throw away line’, the Secretary General has raised the significant tension between trade and democracy," says TEAR Fund Executive Director Stephen Tollestrup.

"The fact is, this is not an ‘either or’ issue, instead it is a 'both and’. Trade and democracy should be two sides of the same coin. The issue neglected in all of this is access to fair credit for the poor."

TEAR Fund is New Zealand's leading Microcredit agency to the developing world, and has long believed access to fair credit is a human right. Without such access, the vast bulk of small business ventures among the poor are held ransom to extortionist and black-market loan racketeers, creating a never ending poverty cycle.

"For talk of trade and democracy to have meaning, there is the need to liberate the vast potential of this entrepreneurial underclass that is estimated to number up to one billion."


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