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Lecture 15

lecture 15.docx

Course Code
ANTH 1150
Marta Rohatynskyj

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The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid
The Discourse of Development
Kottak locates the impulse to development interventions in the process of industrialization and
the creation of the world system over the 18th and 19th centuries
That makes development an unfinished global project
Whatever, the exact wording, the grounding of the justification for intervention is an
interventionist philosophy
The philosophy justifies outside interest in the lives of others who do not enjoy a lifestyle
determined by the values and comforts of modernity
Kottak is very critical of the modernization basis of this philosophy (Bodley)
However, there are other strains of this philosophy that focus on community control and
participation and approaches that are not as ethnocentric
Neoliberal Development Discourse
Neoliberalism –little government interference in the economy, the market becomes the determiner
of what is desirable
In a globalized world – multinational corporations take on a major role in the world economy
At the beginning of this century, multinational corporations accounted for 1/3 of global output
and 2/3 of global trade
With the rise of consumption, young people the world over increasingly construct their identities
and relationships around brand name products: Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s
Neoliberalism defines development as the integration of new populations into new markets of
consumption and the global culture of consumption – emerging economies
Poverty then becomes not a deprivation of basic human rights to food, shelter, good health,
education, etc, but a failure of the market
Corporate Social Responsibility
The idea that corporations should do more than just seek profits is often linked to the process of
It is argued that early scandals in the 1980s such as the Bhopal disaster, the Ok Tedi Mine
environmental disaster, the exposure of the working conditions of people in a globalized garment
industry led to the need for corporations to act more responsibly
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The new ideology encouraged corporations to self-regulate, contribute to the social well being of
people and to develop of a sense of corporate citizenship
So corporations could not just focus on making a profit, they also had to ‘do good’ or at least not
‘do harm
This resulted in links between corporations and public organizations such as NGOs, community
based organizations and multilateral development organizations
C.K. Prahalad (1941-2010)
‘management guru’ at University of Michigan Business School
‘The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid’, Eradicating Poverty through Profits (Enabling
dignity and choice through Markets)
Corporations need to expand; traditional markets are saturated must develop new markets
In doing so they will be unlocking the business potential of the poor, and thus eradicating poverty
This can be accomplished by PPP (public/private partnerships)
This will result in a win/win situation for both the corporation and the poor
The Potential of the Poor
Adapt quickly to technology and find new uses for the technology unforeseen by the corporation
Technology is breaking down barriers to communication and this will help to change traditional
BOP consumers now have a chance to upgrade and improve their lives
By gaining legal identity they no longer have to be marginalized in the informal sector
The emancipation of women is an important aspect of markets at the BOP
Criticism of this Position
Much of this approach is based on the notion that business can solve the problems that
governments can’t
25 years after enthusiasm for CSR-achievements have not lived up to promise
Many MNC or TNC market goods to the poor in minute size packages – a packet of shampoo for
2 to 5 Rupees
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