’Poverty Pushes People Towards Entrepreneurship’

Thursday, July 9, 2009

BANGALORE: More and more people are getting into an entrepreneurial mode and setting up their own businesses. This is not necessarily out of choice, but mostly because they do not really have many other options open to them. Speaking at a lecture on ’Economic Lives Of The Poor’, Prof. Abhijit Banerjee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said this diversification into business and entrepreneurship is not necessarily due to choices or lack of it, but because the poor do not have access to salaried jobs.

The area that differentiates the middle class from the lower section is that the former has access to salaried jobs. Basing his lecture on studies of poor people across the world, he said they seemed to be spending a lot on health. “Poor people are spending more but getting less nutrition from it. Forinstance, expenditure on sugar is high, though that sum of money could have been used for nutritious food instead. They could get more calories and healthier food this way,” he said.

“There were instances of migration among poor people but none of these movements were a permanent one,” he added.

Prof. Banerjee is a professor of economics at The Ford Foundation International and is also the director of Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT, which has one of its biggest centres in India to study programmes and methods of poverty alleviation, designed and implemented by governments and institutions.

Source: Times of India (link opens in a new window)