Fighting poverty together: Rethinking strategies for business, governments and civil society to reduce poverty



Despite the tremendous economic growth around the world in the last thirty years, the number of people living in poverty has gone up. While economic growth is necessary for poverty reduction, it is obviously not enough. Prosperity has not “trickled down” to the poor. Policies and actions directed at reducing poverty have not been effective.

Developing effective strategies requires analysis of current strategies and new ideas. Aneel Karnani does just that using concepts drawing broadly from the fields of business, economics, and development. In this hard-hitting polemic, Karnani demonstrates what is wrong with today's approaches to reducing poverty. He proposes an eclectic approach to poverty reduction in which business, government, and civil society all have an important role, arguing for a paradigm shift to focus on the poor as producers. The primary emphasis must be on creating employment opportunities for the poor and increasing their productive capacities by ensuring basic public services. The fight against poverty relies on raising income through job creation and providing basic public services for all people of the world. Business should provide truly beneficial products and services to the poor at prices they can afford, and governments should regulate markets to protect vulnerable consumers, especially the poor.

Professor Aneel Karnani is faculty member of the Strategy group at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.  He received the Teaching Excellence Award in 1991, 2001, 2006, 2007 and 2009.  He has held visiting appointments to teach in the MBA and executive development programs at many universities including the Northwestern University, London Business School, INSEAD (France), HEC (France), CEIBS (China), Indian Business School, Chulalongkorn University (Thailand), and INCAE (Costa Rica). In addition, he has lectured in several other countries in Latin America, Middle East, Europe and Asia.

Prior to joining the University of Michigan's faculty in 1980, he obtained his doctoral degree from the Harvard Business School.  He also holds an MBA and B.Tech. (Electrical Engineering), both from India.  His work experience includes two years in various managerial positions with TELCO, an integrated manufacturer of trucks and earth moving machinery in India.

Contact information:
Anita van Velzen