The debate on the role of business and markets in development has a long history, marked by divergent and strongly held perspectives, but also shifts in dominant thinking about what is feasible and desirable. While only two decades ago debates were about the state vs the market, there is currently broad consensus that both are essential. The articles in this IDS Bulletin reflect shifting understandings of the roles of business, markets and the state in development.
They assess the conditions under which new relationships between business and development actors are likely to be effective in addressing key constraints to development. They explore how transformations towards new systems that achieve goals of economic prosperity, environmental sustainability and human wellbeing may take place. And they also raise some questions about what the end goal of business and development is, and whether current goals are ‘fit for purpose’.
The picture that emerges is of increasingly nuanced collaborations and partnerships: business-state, business-society, and between formal and informal business. It is important to understand how narratives develop, what influences and perpetuates them, and how they impact what change is considered feasible and desirable. The issue concludes that working with or through business and markets is not incompatible or unhelpful, but they do not represent a ‘silver bullet’. The articles point to the need for approaches that are nuanced, experimental, bottom-up and inclusive of multiple perspectives. More attention is required in relation to the ways in which changes in business practices and market dynamics impact on poverty, inequality and environmental sustainability.
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Table of contents
Introduction: Changing Perspectives in Business and Development Elise Wach and Jodie Thorpe
Private Sector and Waste Management in Delhi – A Political Economy Perspective Ashish Chaturvedi, Rachna Arora and Manjeet Singh Saluja
Bangladesh Health Service Delivery: Innovative NGO and Private Sector Partnerships Md Rubaiyath Sarwar
Smallholder Farmers in the Speciality Coffee Industry: Opportunities, Constraints and the Businesses that are Making it Possible Inma Borrella, Carlos Mataix and Ruth Carrasco-Gallego
The United Nations and Business: Towards New Modes of Global Governance? (PDF) Carlos Fortin and Richard Jolly
Markets for Nutrition: What Role for Business? John Humphrey and Ewan Robinson
Is Systemic Change Part of Pro-poor Business Approaches? Jodie Thorpe
Explore, Scale Up, Move Out – Three Phases to Managing Change under Conditions of Uncertainty Marcus Jenal and Shawn Cunningham
Building Back Better: Business Contributing to a New Economic Paradigm Katherine Trebeck
Shifting the debate on the role of business and markets in development by Maria del Mar Maestre Morales
The United Nations and business: a complex relationship by Carlos Fortin
Learning from market-based solutions for health systems in Bangladesh by Md. Rubaiyath Sarwar
Economic development: introducing options, not bringing solutions by Marcus Jenal and Shawn Cunningham
Building back better: business contributing to a new economic paradigm by Katherine Trebeck