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Romanticizing the Poor

Date posted: 15 Sep 2009 - Category: comment

Author: Aneel Karnani

Organisation: Standford Graduate School of Business

Description: Market solutions to poverty are very much in vogue. These solutions, which include services and products targeting consumers at the "bottom of the pyramid," portray poor people as creative entrepreneurs and discerning consumers. Yet this rosy view of poverty-stricken people is not only wrong, but also harmful. It allows corporations, governments, and nonprofi ts to deny this vulnerable population the protections it needs. Romanticizing the poor also hobbles realistic interventions for alleviating poverty.

Document type:  pdf

Our ranking
Insightfive stars
Originalityfive stars
Credibilityfive stars
Overallfive stars

Our comments:  Karnani is one of the most thoughtful and challenging writers on the role of business in alleviating poverty. He has been quick to challenge what he sees as wishful thinking in a lot of the bottom-of-the-pyramid texts of the day, and whether you agree with his viewpoint or not these are well-argued, well-referenced points that need to be considered carefully. He is one of the few original, critical voices engaging the debate that are really helping to test and shape thinking, and if you are interested in this area you should read this, and his other (referenced in this document) writings on the subject.

Tags: Marketplace, Responsible marketing, Sweatshops

Link to resource:  Romanticizing the Poor

Prosperity without growth?

Prosperity without growth

Date posted: 1 Apr 2009 - Category: report

Author: Prof Tim Jackson

Organisation: Sustainable Development Commission, UK

Description: Prosperity Without Growth? says that the current global recession should be the occasion to forge a new economic system equipped to avoid the shocks and negative impacts associated with our reliance on growth. Ahead of the G20 Summit in London, the report calls on leaders to adopt a 12-step plan to make the transition to a fair, sustainable, low-carbon economy.

Document type:  pdf

Our ranking
Insightfour stars
Originalitythree stars
Credibilityfour stars
Overallthree stars

Our comments:  Disappointed to be giving such a miserly rating for this report, since it covers an absolutely key area and SDC chair Jonathon Porritt's description of it as the organisation's "Magnus Opus" raised expectations. On the plus side, it brings together some key themes that show that emerging from the other side of the financial crisis to resume 'business as normal' is not an option. It is part of an essential debate that needs to take place. On the negative side, it has a lot of rhetoric and not much clarity. Such statements as those made about GDP as a target of policy were being made 20 years ago in the emerging 'new economics' movement. Surely we have moved forward further than the feeble '12 steps to a sustainable economy'. Would have benefited from 50 fewer pages and a 'so what?' chapter. But make no mistake that the themes outlined here will be ones that will come back to bite.

Tags: Environment, Climate change, Marketplace

Link to resource:  Prosperity without growth?

Marketplace Responsibility Principles

Marketplace Responsibility Principles

Date posted: 10 May 2008 - Category: report

Organisation: Business in the Community

Description: The Marketplace Responsibility Principles are a guide for implementing responsible business in medium-sized to large companies, and have been developed by the Marketplace Taskforce, a group of 10 global and UK companies chaired by Mike Clasper, former CEO of BAA plc.

Document type:  pdf

Our ranking
Insightfour stars
Originalityfour stars
Credibilityfour stars
Overallfour stars

Our comments:  The Marketplace Responsibility Principles present the thoughts of some of the UK's top business leaders on how social responsibility applies to the process of how you make your money.

Tags: Customer issues, Marketplace, Responsible marketing, Controversial products, Supply chain, Corporate lobbying

Link to resource:  Marketplace Responsibility Principles

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