Mirage at the Bottom of the Pyramid
29 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2006
Date Written: August 2006
Poor people - at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) - represent a very attractive market opportunity. The "BOP proposition" argues that selling to the poor can simultaneously be profitable and help eradicate poverty. This is at best a harmless illusion and potentially a dangerous delusion. This paper shows that the BOP argument is riddled with fallacies, and proposes an alternative perspective on how the private sector can help alleviate poverty. Rather than focusing on the poor as consumers, we need to view the poor as producers. The only way to alleviate poverty is to raise the real income of the poor.
Keywords: Poverty, Bottom of the pyramid, Selling to the poor, social responsibility
JEL Classification: I30, M10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation