You might suppose that financial innovation had done enough damage. But bankers, investors and philanthropists believe it can help the world’s poor
MANY nodded when Lord Turner, the City of London’s chief regulator, said recently that the financial industry had grown “beyond its socially useful size”. The idea that devices such as collateralised debt obligations and credit-default swaps have been a blessing, not least by allowing the less well-off to buy houses, is in tatters: lots of those new homeowners have lost their houses as well as their jobs. It is remarkable, then, that the crisis should have given fresh impetus to “social finance”, a movement based on the belief that financial innovation can be used directly to help society’s neediest people.