“Behind every successful fortune there is a crime.” — Mario Puzo, The Godfather
Microfinance: providing financial services for small businesses or entrepreneurs, especially in poor or rural communities, who do not have access to traditional banking or financial services. Sounds wonderfully altruistic, but just ask the people of Andhra Pradesh what their thoughts are about microfinancing and you’ll hear a completely different answer.
Ramesh S. Arunachalam, international economic development consultant and author of the new book, Where Angels Prey, reveals the devastating truths that often lurk behind the good intentions of Wall Street’s interest in India’s poor. Loosely inspired by real life events in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachalamexposes the double-edged sword that emerges when no safeguards are put into place.
While the rest of the world reels under a severe financial crisis, India’s microfinance sector enjoys an unprecedented boom. Why on earth are people investing such huge amounts of money in an obscure industry, especially at the time of global recession, and why is Wall Street suddenly so interested in India’s poor?
Gripping, racy and meticulously researched, this financial thriller weaves in and out of the affluent world of high-powered boardrooms and the grueling poverty of the remotest villages of India, to reveal the devastating truths that often lurk behind “good intentions.”
Thrilling, intense and entertaining, Where Angels Prey addresses:
- Doing good and doing business can come at a great cost, especially to the disadvantaged
- White collar crime is almost inevitable when Wall Street steps in and often targets the poor and vulnerable
- The high price of commercial microfinance and its consequences from grass-roots to Wall Street
- The pros and cons of using social pressure to “save up” for small businesses and entrepreneurs
“Corporations can make fortunes at the bottom of the pyramid,” saysArunachalam, “but I hope Where Angles Prey exposes the harsh realities of trying to do good and do business.”
Ramesh S. Arunachalam wears many hats. He is an engineer and has an MBA with over 25 years of work experience in over 25 countries across five continents in over 250 assignments in the financial sector including microfinance and financial inclusion. He also has grass-roots experience in over 546 districts of India’s 600 plus districts. Arunachalam has also produced and showcased three films including the National Award Winning Kutty (2001) with his film company, Shruthikkaa Films.
Reviews Rave: “Where Angels Prey is an engaging and touching story of the collision of altruism and aspiration…. I found it a most enjoyable, but also most disturbing, read!” Matthew Gamser, CEO, SME Finance Forum, International Finance Corporation, Washington DC, USA
“During the very spectacular implosion of microfinance in Andhra Pradesh in 2010, Ramesh Arunachalam was merciless in his analysis. Combining field trips, secondary research and his experience in the rural development space, he stripped bare the malaise in the sector. It is excellent that he has now parsed all that knowhow into this racy entertaining novel.” M Rajshekhar, Senior Journalist, Scroll.in and former Senior Assistant Editor (Rural India, Environment), The Economic Times
“This novel is a brilliant piece of work from a person who has seen at close quarters the microfinance industry’s rise and fall in Andhra Pradesh. The plot, fit for a movie, is beautifully woven into all the happenings that have plagued the sector. It makes for such a compelling read that it can’t be put down even once!” Madhusudhan Lagisetty, Assistant Vice President, Tata AIG Life Insurance Co Ltd