Capitalists Should Mine Bottom of Pyramid
Monday, August 13, 2007
Most businesses focus on high profit margins from the world’s richest 800 million people while neglecting the other approximately four billion people living at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
For years, market capitalism has been widely regarded as the virtual polar opposite of human values.
On the one hand, its endless exploitation of the limited natural resources and pollution pose great threats to the sustainable development of both the environment and society.
On the other hand, most businesses focus on high profit margins from the world’s richest 800 million people while neglecting the other approximately four billion people living at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
But now it’s time to make a change, as author Stuart Hart stresses in his book “Capitalism at the Crossroads.”
Don’t mistake Hart as a cynic who is calling for a mass movement against market capitalism.
Neither is he speaking in the tone of a philanthropist trying to appeal to the sympathy of businesses for the poor. Rather, it is the global trend toward sustainable development that requires the change.
By analyzing the bleak future of traditional economies and illustrating the huge benefits that sustainable development might bring as well as the unlimited business opportunities at the bottom of the pyramid, Hart could not be more persuasive in his conviction that capitalism must take a new course.
An effective wealth-creation mechanism as it is, market capitalization has long been developing at high environmental costs.
As the environmental awareness of the public grows, businesses are faced with increasing opposition against their irresponsibility for environmental protection.
Policy makers are also gradually tightening their regulations, demanding businesses to shoulder their responsibility in promoting environmental and social sustainability.
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