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Video: Is BOP BS?

13 July 2012

If you can engage markets to work for the poor then that's a beneficial thing. However, I'm not sure that we should be using development resources to support the distribution channels of corporations.

Catherine Dolan, Lecturer in Marketing, Culture and Society, Saïd Business School

As business theories go, they don't come more seductive than Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP). Like Michael Porter's Shared Value it promises multinationals can grow their bottom line while transforming the world's poorest communities. What could be better?

The reality – as presented by the panelists at a recent Saïd Business School event in Oxford – does not seem to support the theory. That the people at the base of the pyramid should have access to the same consumer choice as everyone else is self-evidently "a good thing". But numerous panel members vociferously argued that the image of big business as the saviours of the world's poor was badly wrong. Watch the video for more:

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