Paul Polak, who has spent many years working on developing products for those living on US $2 a day, thinks that in choosing strategies to eliminate poverty that don’t generate revenue, far fewer people have been reached. Read his comments in a recent blog post.
He compares the philosophy of Milton Friedman, a famous, pro-free-market American economist, and Muhammed Yunus.
He defines “reaching scale” as helping more than 100 million people living on < US $2. And mentions the following factors as important in doing just that, regardless of whether or not you hope to make money in the process:
What are the common features of initiatives that have truly helped extremely poor people move out of poverty?
- They begin by thoroughly listening to poor customers and thoroughly understanding the specific context of their lives.
- They design and implement ruthlessly affordable technologies or business models.
- Energizing private sector market forces plays a central role in their implementation.
- Radical decentralization is integrated into economically viable last mile distribution.
- Design for scale is a central focus of the enterprise from the very beginning.
What do you think?