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The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid by C. K. Prahalad
barriers to entry, business process, call centre, cashless society, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate social responsibility, deskilling, disintermediation, farmers can use mobile phones to check market prices, financial intermediation, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, income inequality, late fees, Mahatma Gandhi, market fragmentation, microcredit, new economy, profit motive, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, shareholder value, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, time value of money, transaction costs, working poor
The approach depended on building a network of PCs in villages around the soya belt. ITC picked a successful farmer called the sanchalak in each village. He was given a PC that could be used by all the farmers in the village. The sanchalak took a formal oath in the village to be impartial and make access to the PC available to all the farmers in his area. The farmers could check the prices of soybeans in the neighboring mandis and decide when and where to sell their crops. ITC decided to build a system that changed many of the existing practices. The farmers could check prices and decide at what prices they wanted to sell. They were not at the mercy of the auctioneers at the mandi on a particular day. The produce was weighed accurately, unlike the previous practice with the traditional aggregators in the mandi. Under the old system, farmers lost about two to three kilograms per ton in inaccurate weighing.
At the top of the pyramid are the wealthy, with numerous opportunities for generating high levels of income. More than 4 billion people live at the BOP on less than $2 per day. They are the subject matter of this book. The Market at the Bottom of the Pyramid 5 As you turn these pages, you will discover companies fighting disease with educational campaigns and innovative products. There are organizations helping the handicapped walk and helping subsistence farmers check commodity prices and connect with the rest of the world. There are banks adapting to the financial needs of the poor, power companies reaching out to meet energy needs, and construction companies doing what they can to house the poor in affordable ways that allow for pride. There are chains of stores tailored to understand the needs of the poor and to make products available to them. The strength of these innovative approaches, as you will come to appreciate, is that they tend to create opportunities for the poor by offering them choices and encouraging self-esteem.
Ten years ago this would have been a nonevent, but with access to multiple and fiercely competitive TV channels, wireless, and Internet, the news spread so rapidly across India that not just managers within Cadbury but all managers involved in the “fast-moving consumer goods” industry were surprised and worried.2 BOP Consumers Accept Advanced Technology Readily Contrary to popular belief, the BOP consumers accept advanced technology readily. The spread of wireless devices, PC kiosks, and personal digital assistants (PDAs) at the BOP has surprised many a manager and researcher. For example, ITC, an Indian conglomerate, decided to connect Indian farmers with PCs in their villages. The ITC e-Choupal (literally, “village meeting place”) allowed the farmers to check prices not only in the local auction houses (called mandis), but also prices of soybean futures at the Chicago Board of Trade. The e-Choupal network allowed the farmers access to information that allowed them to make decisions about how much to sell and when, thus improving their margins. Similarly, women entrepreneurs in southern India, given a PC kiosk in their villages, have learned to videoconference among themselves, across villages on all kinds of issues, from the cost of loans from various banks to the lives of their grandchildren in the United States.3 Chat rooms are full of activity that none of us could have imagined.
Imagining India by Nandan Nilekani
affirmative action, BRICs, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, clean water, colonial rule, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, farmers can use mobile phones to check market prices, full employment, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, joint-stock company, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, land reform, LNG terminal, load shedding, Mahatma Gandhi, market fragmentation, Mikhail Gorbachev, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, open economy, pension reform, Potemkin village, price mechanism, race to the bottom, rent control, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, smart grid, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, unemployed young men, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population
For these farmers, IT is not just access to the information economy—it is their only access to it, and a critical, life-changing one. The demand for IT has consequently grown dramatically across rural India, and rural IT-based services led by the private sector have soared in recent years. Sriram Raghavan’s Internet community centers and kiosks, for instance, offer low-cost computing and networking services across villages, and ITC’s 7000 e-Choupal centers allow farmers to check commodity prices and sell crops online. “We have become the one-stop shop for literally everything,” Sriram tells me. “From caste certificates to English language training, we are doing all kinds of things over a wire, and the demand we are seeing is astonishing.” Sriram tells me of parents in villages who send their daughters in secondary school to the kiosk for online tuition classes. The IT kiosk in rural India has become a sort of supermarket for all kinds of services, from checking crop prices to accessing e-governance services, getting treated through telemedicine, and for education.
The Land Grabbers: The New Fight Over Who Owns the Earth by Fred Pearce
Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, big-box store, blood diamonds, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, carbon footprint, clean water, credit crunch, Deng Xiaoping, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, farmers can use mobile phones to check market prices, index fund, Jeff Bezos, land reform, land tenure, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, megacity, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nikolai Kondratiev, offshore financial centre, out of africa, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, smart cities, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks
“We can double yields here easily and improve the environment at the same time,” said agricultural scientist B. B. Singh, who had advised the farmers as head of the Kano office of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. “And this is nothing unusual. We can do it all over Africa.” So simple, but so effective. In many places, new communications technology is helping smallholders. Mobile phones have revolutionized the ability of small farmers to access markets and check prices. In outgrower schemes for fresh vegetables—such as the Homegrown operation I watched in Machakos, which airfreights produce to Britain—farmers take orders by phone for the day’s delivery while working in their fields. Africans can learn from each other, but also from elsewhere. Well-organized milk markets are still rare in Africa, but Indian milk production has gone from seventy-eighth in the world to number one, almost entirely through the work of farmer-owned cooperative dairies.
airport security, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, clean water, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Edward Glaeser, European colonialism, failed state, farmers can use mobile phones to check market prices, George Akerlof, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, invisible hand, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, land tenure, microcredit, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, structural adjustment programs, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, War on Poverty, Xiaogang Anhui farmers
Radios and TVs Per Capita in Africa In Africa since 1996, the number of cell phones has been increasing by a factor of ten every three years. The explosion of cell phones shows just how much poor people search for new technological opportunities, with no state intervention, with no structural adjustment or shock therapy to promote cell phones. These are not just consumer pleasures. Cell phones help farmers, fishers, and entrepreneurs check out prices, suppliers, and consumers; arrange meetings; transfer funds; and lots of other things that are logistical nightmares in societies without good landline phones, functional postal services, or adequate roads.54 Fig. 10. Cell Phones Per Thousand People Entrepreneur Alieu Conteh started building a cellular network in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) when it was still in the midst of its civil war in the 1990s.