Many have argued that the technocratic apparatus of development is sustained-and not undermined-by its fallacies. Building on previous failures, development experts envision new plans, new analytical tools and new modes of governance. One recent example is the bottom of the pyramid approach (BOP), a development doctrine predi-cated on the failure of previous anti-poverty approaches and based on the creation of products, services and entrepreneurial opportunities for the poor. Critically bracketed as a hallmark of millennial neoliberalism in the Global South, BOP projects, like previous development schemes, fail too. Through the narration of two experiments that, in 2015, had failed to create profit at the bottom of the pyramid in Cape Town (South Africa), this paper focuses on how development expertise makes sense of and engages the lack of profitability at the BOP, showing that failure is an important entry point into the actually existing forms of neoliberal anti-poverty enterprises in the Global South. Using J. K. Gibson-Graham's feminist economic geography framing, this article argues that neoliberal doctrines themselves sank these market experiments, whilst opening possibilities for development experts to engage alternative economic forms that stemmed from their failures.

Reading development failure: experts and experiments at the bottom of the pyramid in Cape Town / Pollio, Andrea. - In: THIRD WORLD QUARTERLY. - ISSN 0143-6597. - (2021), pp. 1-19. [10.1080/01436597.2021.1983425]

Reading development failure: experts and experiments at the bottom of the pyramid in Cape Town

Andrea Pollio
2021

Abstract

Many have argued that the technocratic apparatus of development is sustained-and not undermined-by its fallacies. Building on previous failures, development experts envision new plans, new analytical tools and new modes of governance. One recent example is the bottom of the pyramid approach (BOP), a development doctrine predi-cated on the failure of previous anti-poverty approaches and based on the creation of products, services and entrepreneurial opportunities for the poor. Critically bracketed as a hallmark of millennial neoliberalism in the Global South, BOP projects, like previous development schemes, fail too. Through the narration of two experiments that, in 2015, had failed to create profit at the bottom of the pyramid in Cape Town (South Africa), this paper focuses on how development expertise makes sense of and engages the lack of profitability at the BOP, showing that failure is an important entry point into the actually existing forms of neoliberal anti-poverty enterprises in the Global South. Using J. K. Gibson-Graham's feminist economic geography framing, this article argues that neoliberal doctrines themselves sank these market experiments, whilst opening possibilities for development experts to engage alternative economic forms that stemmed from their failures.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11583/2930595