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Enabling Practices: Making Markets ‘Worth the Effort’ at the Bottom-of-the-Pyramid

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paper

Published
Publication date4/06/2012
Number of pages0
Original languageEnglish
Event2nd EIASM Workshop on Market Studies - Howth, Ireland
Duration: 7/06/2012 → …

Conference

Conference2nd EIASM Workshop on Market Studies
CountryIreland
CityHowth
Period7/06/12 → …

Abstract

This paper identifies enabling practices that create spaces where needs at the 'bottom-of-the-pyramid' are unearthed, articulated, represented and translated into ‘market making practices’. Exploring multiple, contested and reframed needs generates insights into the efforts (and practices) that shape orders of worth in economic life. Despite their best efforts, Governments and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) such as Oxfam, Médecins Sans Frontières and Save the Children have failed to alleviate poverty. Many commentators argue that it is "trade not aid" that will lift people living at the bottom-of-the-pyramid, out of poverty (Cox and Gelder 2010; Smith 2009). The 'bottom-of-the-pyramid' is a term coined by Prahalad and Hammond (2002) to describe the large numbers of people living in subsistence conditions. These people typically earn less than $2 per day, lack adequate access to basics such as food and education, have limited literacy and numeracy skills, lack access to transportation and consequently have limited consumption choices. Many of these people live in 'emerging markets' (Sridharan and Viswanathan 2008); the fast growing, underdeveloped markets, including a group of countries know as the BRICs - Brazil, Russia, India, China. Yet despite the recognition of the need to support trade locally in these markets, our understanding of how to do this limited (Karnani 2007). How trade might be imagined, fostered and supported in ways that develops local economies that are constrained by minimum resources, is poorly understood.