The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Anglais) Relié – 26 juillet 2004
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect,Microsoft"The Bottom of the Pyramid belongs at the top of the reading list forbusiness people, academics, and experts pursuing the elusive goal ofsustainable growth in the developing world. C. K. Prahalad writes withuncommon insight about consumer needs in poor societies andopportunities for the private sector to serve important public purposes whileenhancing its own bottom line. If you are looking for fresh thinking aboutemerging markets, your search is ended. This is the book for you."
Madeleine K. Albright, Former U.S. Secretary of State"Prahalad challenges readers to re-evaluate their pre-conceived notionsabout the commercial opportunities in serving the relatively poor nations ofthe world. The Bottom of the Pyramid highlights the way to commercialsuccess and societal improvement--but only if the developed worldreconceives the way it delivers products and services to the developingworld."
Christopher Rodrigues, CEO, Visa International"An important and insightful work showing persuasively how the privatesector can be put at the center of development, not just as a rhetoricalflourish but as a real engine of jobs and services for the poor."
Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme
Présentation de l'éditeur
The world's most exciting, fastest-growing new market is where you least expect it: at the bottom of the pyramid. Collectively, the world's billions of poor people have immense untapped buying power. They represent an enormous opportunity for companies who learn how to serve them. Not only can it be done, it is being done--very profitably. What's more, companies aren't just making money: by serving these markets, they're helping millions of the world's poorest people escape poverty.
C.K. Prahalad's global bestseller The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, now available in paperback, shows why you can't afford to ignore "Bottom of the Pyramid" (BOP) markets. Now available in paperback, it offers a blueprint for driving the radical innovation you'll need to profit in emerging markets--and using those innovations to become more competitive everywhere. This new paperback edition includes eleven concise, fast-paced success stories from India, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela--ranging from salt to soap, banking to cellphones, healthcare to housing. These stories are backed by more detailed case studies and 10 hours of digital videos on whartonsp.com. Simply put, this book is about making a revolution: building profitable "bottom of the pyramid" markets, reducing poverty, and creating an inclusive capitalism that works for everyone.
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Meilleurs commentaires des clients
Ce livre est une ode à la gloire de la puissance régénératrice du capitalisme. Ici il combat une bureaucratie corrompue (par quoi ?). On y trouve aussi l'histoire, surprenante, de l'échec de projets de réforme totalement irréalistes. Quelques dizaines de pages utiles pour énormément de remplissage et un prix élevé. Curieuse illustration du thème du livre.
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
Undoubtedly Mr. Pralhad's research demonstrates there are plenty of opportunities to do good business among the poor at the BOP (bottom of the pyramid), for them to benefit from the products and services not available now, and for some of them to go out of poverty by becoming entrepreneurs (market penetration is always limited). I agree on these conclusions, as commented extensively by the previous reviewers, and without a doubt this book will become a reference in many Business Schools. But to assert that this strategy will eradicate poverty and bring development is plain sophistry. As Carl Sagan said "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".
Why sophistry? Regarding the poverty eradication claimed by Mr. Prahalad I will try to highlight some of the main flaws in his rationale and lack of sufficient evidence:
1. Despite the consideration of several cases from around the Third-World, most of the discussion and arguments to build the framework are related to India, excessively. The conditions of the poor in Latin America are quite different, and often, they have better public services available to them. On the other hand, many African countries have worst conditions. So you can not reach valid conclusions based solely on a country with such unique cultural and ethnical conditions. For doing business the cases are fine, especially for India or China because they are such huge markets at the BOP.
2. Wealth creation is hugely overestimated. Poor entrepreneurs and their immediate family will undoubtedly benefit from these new economic activities, but the framework lacks an explanation about how these oases of welcomed capitalism will trickle-down to the rest of their neighbors and poor villages. The implicit assumption is that everybody at the BOP has to become an entrepreneur for this strategy to work, because by just having access to affordable consumer products it seems very unlikely that poverty will be eradicated. The proposed framework is just good for doing business and for the poor to have access to new services and products, but where is the sustainable "fishing industry" for the rest of the poor population? The cases are very unique, islands of excellence, and with limited potential for a population the huge size of the BOT to bail out of poverty in significant numbers.
3. The analysis lacks the historical, cultural, legal and socio-economical background for a given country or region, and this consideration is fundamental for a proper analysis on sustainable development. Even when Mr. Pralhalad correctly identifies lack of education, corruption and the size of the informal sector as barriers for development and doing business, he then oversimplifies a lot on how to overcome these key issues, and again, an isolated Indian case is used as the magic formula to solve the problem through information technology. In fact, at the end of Chapter 6, within the conclusions, he recognizes that the illustrations he provides "are but islands of excellence in a sea of deprivation and helplessness". As the development community knows well, these successful stories are very hard to replicate. In Latin America we have the outstanding cases of Chile, Uruguay and Costa Rica. In Brazil, we have the cases of the Southern states of Santa Catarina, Paraná, São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul. All of them very developed as compared to their neighbors (in terms of income, education, health, etc.), but despite all efforts, no one has successfully reproduced these islands of excellence at a scale that makes a difference.
4. An example will help to understand how superficial the cases are from a point of view of development and poverty eradication. The Brazilian case of "Casas Bahia" lacks the consideration of the socio-economic environment of the country, especially the case omits to mention key characteristics of the financial and credit markets (for those interested in this particular case from the point of view of business, I recommend you read "Samuel Klein e Casas Bahia: Uma trajetoria de Sucesso", Novo Seculo, 2005, this is a real and really impressive business success story). Mr. Klein successfully, by trusting the poor, built an empire that today is still one of the few option many mid- and low-income families have to buy the first computer for their children going to college in Brazil. But, let's see why the market share for credit cards is only 4%, and why it is not a real threat for Casas Bahia own financial system as stated in the book, as well as why there is not much in here to help eradicat poverty in Brazil. Annual inflation today in Brazil is in the order of 3-4%, and the Brazilian currency, the "Real" have been steadily revaluating against the dollar for the last 3 years. However, interest rates in Brazil are sky-high, a legacy of the hyper-inflation times of twenty years ago. Interest rates for well-known international credit cards are 9-11% per month, which compounded translates to an annual rate close to 180%, regardless of whether you're poor or rich. Today retail chain stores of this type charge around 3% per month, embedded in the price of the consumer products, so the consumer doesn't know up-front the real price. This translates to a compounded rate of 43% per year. Often if you try to pay upfront, there is no discount. So where is the real benefit for the poor? Or are they just getting every day more indebted, and spending money on fat interests that they could have used to buy more or better food or better health services for their kids. I do not see where poverty eradication fits in this case. Obviously Brazil has a problem of lack of real competition in the capitalist sense; even the branches of American Banks doing business in Brazil charge these exorbitant rates. As a reference for the readers, you can buy a 30Gb iPod in Brazil for the "reasonable" amount of US$1,000, payable in 12 installments, and for the high price we also have to thank the federal government high taxes on almost everything. Coming back to the case, as an additional "benefit", you only can make the payments in person at stores of the retail chain, just to make sure the poor are tempted every month and come back for more when they are close to payback that debt. That's why there is a 77% of clients who make reapeat purchases as the book reports. Not surprisingly the case description mentions the criticism "that Casas Bahia simply exploits the poor and charges them exorbitant interest rates", but neglects to present a due explanation of why this is not truth, and simply disregards the cristicism.
5. Finally, Mr. Prahalad is extremely optimistic. At he end of Chapter 6 and in his own words: "I have no doubt that the elimination of poverty and deprivation is possible by 2020". This prophecy speaks by itself about the reliability of the analysis. And again, let's remember that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. All the book presents is anecdotal evidence, which is not proof as any scientist knows, and the framework presented has no predictive power, much less to assert that poverty will end by 2020.
Unquestionably an excellent business book, and a very innovative one, but just for that, business. That's why to me it only deserves 3 stars. On the other hand, not much value-added in there for doing real sustainable development across the board, as the author insinuates and some of the readers think, and certainly not much for real poverty eradication. For that outrageous addition to the book's title I took the other 2 stars. The "Erradicating poverty through profits" part of the book's title should be erased, so the book really deserves the 5 stars most reviewers gave to it (and as the previous reviewer rightly complained, the cases were really awfully edited for the paperback edition, even with repeated sentences). Definitely this book is not recommended if you are serious about new ideas for sustainable development. For a real book on that subject, read the recently publicated The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It by Paul Collier, though its scope refers mainly to very poor African countries, it is an example of a serious and proper approach to the problem of eradicating poverty. To understand the complexities of promoting development, you may also read Making Globalization Work by Joseph Stiglitz. These two books will clearly ilustrate why "The Fortune at the BOP" is not a book on development, and absolutely, no Nobel Prize is deserved.
However, the case studies suggest this has changed and in many ways as far as India is concerned this is visible by strong anecdotal evidence. Also in many ways there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that people have realised that the government will not solve all that makes doing business difficult and have been using this kind of thinking as a driver for entrepreneurial business which also have a positive impact on the people at the bottom of the pyramid.
Will The framework and ideas apply in all developing economies , specially with smaller populations ? This question is harder to answer and no doubt time will tell.
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