7. Broadening the Corporate Bandwidth

When we set our sights on the world’s “poor,” we tend not to see complex societies with unique histories that also have economies. Instead, we see societies that are economies—albeit “underdeveloped” ones, from our point of view.1 Indeed, my colleague Erik Simanis at the University of North Carolina has made it very clear to me that our conceptual categories, which seem as though they were decreed by God, are only one way of looking at the world.2 Whether we speak of industry boundaries—automobiles, computers, energy, telecommunications—or societal categories—economy, government, education, church, family, community—all serve to blind us to the actual conditions and constraints that exist for those beyond ...

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