Review: The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid–Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Hardcover)

6 Star Top 10%, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Economics, Future, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Nobel Prize Material–Could Transform the Planet,

December 9, 2005
C.K. Prahalad
There are some excellent and lengthy reviews of this book so I will not repeat anything that has already been said. This book review should be read together with my review of Stuart Hart's “Capitalism at the Crossroads,” which points to several other related books, and Kenichi Ohmae's book, “The Next Global Stage.” All three are published by Wharton School Publishing, which has impressed me enormously with its gifted offerings.

Here's the math that I was surprised to not see in the book: the top billion people that business focuses on are worth less than a trillion in potential sales. The bottom four billion, with less than $1000 a year in disposable income, are worth four trillion in potential sales.

In combination, Prahalad and Hart make it clear that business suffers from the same pathologies as the Central Intelligence Agency and other bureaucracies: they are in a rut.

I will end by emphasizing that I believe this author merits the Nobel Peace Prize. As the U.S. Department of Defense is now discovering, its $500 billion a year budget is being spent on a heavy metal military useful only 10% of the time. Stabilizization and reconstruction are a much more constructive form of national defense, because if we do not address poverty and instability globally, it will inevitably impact on the home front. This author has presented the most common sense case for turning business upside down. He can be credited with a paradigm shift, those shifts that Kuhn tells us come all too infrequently, but when they come, they change the world. It may take years to see this genius implemented in the real world, but he has, without question, changed the world for the better with this book, and make global prosperity a possibility.

NOTE: This book comes with a DVD that is an extraordinary value all by itself. Wharton Publishing has really delivered a one-two intellectual punch, first with the book, and then with the DVD which as a short introductory presentation by the author, and then a series of 2-4 minute multi-media snap-shots of the various case studies and the “faces of poverty” transformed. I am really impressed–I've had Wharton MBAs work for me before (but please note, it was Michigan MBAs that excelled in the work I am reviewing(, examining OSS.Net and how to take it to the next level, but the work reflected in these case studies and by the author as a manager of budding intellects has taken my respect for Michagan (and Wharton) to a whole new level.

Note: while this book is totally unique, and inspired my idea to create the Earth Intelligence Network and be intelligence officer to the poor, organizing 100 million people to teach the five billion poor “one cell call at a time,” there are several other books that have given me enormous hope, and I list them below.
One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization
Democracy's Edge: Choosing to Save Our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life
Escaping the Matrix: How We the People can change the world
All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (BK Currents)
Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming
Society's Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual Capital and the Twenty-first Century Organization
Revolutionary Wealth: How it will be created and how it will change our lives

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