C. K. Prahalad
The Mirage of Marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid

Professor C.K. Prahalad was the major pioneer and advocate of the 'bottom of the pyramid' proposition that selling to the poor can simultaneously be profitable and help eradicate poverty. While appealing, the BOP proposition is also controversial. Professor Aneel Karnani was an early and prominent critic of the BOP proposition. In his 2007 article "The Mirage of Marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid" and his 2011 book Fighting Poverty Together: Rethinking Strategies for Business, Governments, and Civil Society to Reduce Poverty, he argues for an alternative perspective. Rather than viewing the poor primarily as consumers, it is better to focus on the poor as producers and to emphasize buying from the poor. Both the private sector and government have a critical role to play in alleviating poverty. The best way to alleviate poverty is to raise the real income of the poor by providing them appropriate employment opportunities. The private sector is the best engine of job creation. The government should facilitate the creation and growth of private enterprises in labor-intensive sectors of the economy. The government should also fulfill its traditional, accepted functions of providing adequate access to public services, such as education, public health, drinkable water, sanitation, security, and infrastructure.