In this book, the authors approach poverty alleviation from an atypical perspective. The thesis is that poverty can be reduced, if not eradicated, both locally and globally, but this will occur only if we change our shared narratives about global free enterprise, and only if we recalibrate our mindsets regarding how poverty issues are most effectively addressed. They argue that poverty amelioration cannot be effected by the traditional means employed during the last century—foreign aid from developed nations and/or from non-profit international organizations. Rather, the authors present evidence which demonstrates that a mindset embracing initiatives developed by global corporations in response to the poverty challenge is significantly more effective. Global companies can alleviate poverty by seizing market opportunities at the Base of the economic Pyramid (BoP) with the implementation of three key processes: moral imagination, systems thinking, and deep dialogue.
This approach to alleviating poverty offers some powerful ideas backed by the support of some of the leading Business Ethics minds in the United States. These scholars, some of whom are on the author team, have created a book that is unique and provocative yet still ideal for courses at the undergraduate level.
"Patricia Werhane and her colleagues show how our mental models blind us from seeing new realms of possibilities. In this gem of a book, they portray poverty for what it represents for business--an opportunity to dramatically improve peoples' lives."
--Stuart L. Hart, S.C. Johnson Chair in Sustainable Global Enterprise, Cornell University
"Never before was humankind so well equipped with scientific, financial, technical and intellectual resources and thus enabled to significantly reduce global poverty and eradicate it.
"The most successful approach combines good governance in the rich and poor countries, prudent foreign aid and wise interactions of NGOs. But it also necessitates innovative and responsible businessmen in small, medium and large companies. They will develop and responsibly exploit business opportunities at the bottom of the income pyramid, create productive employment and offer needed goods and services. Robust partnerships in multi-stakeholder solution teams involving all actors able to bring pieces of the solution puzzle to the table will make a huge difference.
"As the authors rightly emphasize, moral imagination will be required to overcome fears and preconceptions on the side of all potential partners. For the benefit of the world’s poor it is a moral requirement to overcome customary stereotypes. Vision and morally imaginative risk taking on the side of companies and NGOs can herald a new age of development work and trigger new dimensions of productivity, cost-effectiveness, as well as efficiency."
--Klaus M. Leisinger, President and CEO, Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development
"The authors lay out a compelling case of how the private sector represents a powerful force against global poverty. They develop a model that inextricably links corporate social responsibility with competitive advantage."
--Robert Weisberg, former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Congo and Global Ethics Officer for Nokia Siemens Networks
Introduction 1. World Poverty in the 21st Century 2. Failed Strategies in the Alleviation of Poverty 3. Mental Models and Contributing Biases on Global Poverty 4. Narratives of Multinational For-Profit Enterprises and Corporate Social Responsibility 5. Global Poverty and Moral Imagination 6. Institutional Barriers, Moral Risk and Transformative Business Ventures 7. Public-Private Partnerships and other Hybrid Models for Poverty Alleviation 8. Future Prospects for Profitable Partnerships