Depleted by Debt: 'Green' Microfinance, Over-Indebtedness, and Social Reproduction in Climate-Vulnerable Cambodia

Vincent Guermond, Katherine Brickell, Nithya Natarajan, Laurie Parsons, G Faye, Dalia Iskander, L Ly Vouch, S Michiels, Fiorella Picchioni, Nathan Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The operations of microfinance are exalted in mainstream development thinking as a key means of supporting smallholder farmers facing growing crises of agricultural productivity in the context of daily, ongoing, and often slow-onset climate disasters. Microfinance products and services are claimed to enhance coping and adaptative capacity by facilitating both risk recovery and reduction. Challenging the status quo, this paper brings together original and mixed-method data collected between 2020 and 2022 in Cambodia to critically examine the “green finance” agenda by highlighting the ways in which microfinance contributes to reproducing and exacerbating climate precarity and harm for many. We evidence how credit-taking can lead to more dangerous and individualised efforts to cope with, and adapt to, existing conditions at home, often at the cost of emotional and bodily depletion. By doing so, we contribute to answering calls for connecting literatures and thinking on social reproduction, depletion, and climate change adaptation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAntipode: a radical journal of geography
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2023

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