Nicholas Kristoff picks the best nonprofits
Dissidents and Philanthropists

BoP Dumpster Household Consumer Feedback

"Dear Friends," I heard the Happy Tutor's booming voice echoing off the walls of his Dumpster at the Corner of Wealth and Bondage,"The excitement today around market-based solutions for addressing the problems of poverty is inescapable.”  Apparently, Tutor is on the mailing list for Monitor Inclusive Markets. Tutor went on, reading slowly from their recent From Blueprint to Scale: The Case for Philanthropy in Impact Investing, there is a "lack of sufficient absorptive capacity for capital. This means there is an imminent lack of impact investing opportunities into which large amounts of capital could be placed at investors’ required rates of return. Monitor’s conversations with numerous impact investors have confirmed that this remains a major challenge for the industry.

Tutor paused.That seems strange, doesn't it? A lack of ways to make good money off the poor at rates of return approaching those of payday loans, or subprime mortgages? Yet, the data indicates this is so!  He read on, This has also been corroborated by a recent survey of more than 50 impact investors conducted by J.P. Morgan. When asked about the most critical challenges to growth of the impact investment industry, respondents ranked “shortage of quality investment opportunities” second, right after “lack of track record of successful investments.”This shortage of opportunities is particularly acute when it comes to inclusive businesses whose activities are clearly socially beneficial to Base of the Pyramid (BoP)households, and whose work is therefore credibly part of a market-based approach to solving some of the problems of poverty. 

Phil, Tutor said, We have to stop drinking and begging and turning tricks in back allies for short money, and work on our absorptive capacity for big dollars. We know lots of poor people. Now what can we credibly sell them as part of a market based approach to solving some of the problems of poverty? They have no money, no jobs. Often no teeth. Their car, if they had one has already been repossessed. But what can we loan them sell them, extort, or steal from them that we could package into some kind of bubble investment? There are billions in capital out there that would flow to the poor if they could return 7-15% per annum! The excitement among the investing class is palpable. But how can a couple of aging grifters like us do well and do good? "Dissemination related activities," I read they hire people at Monitor for that. Mostly PR people with experience at Banks. Maybe if someone could lend us a decent suit and a pair of shoes we could apply to Monitor Inclusive Markets as Dissemination Related Activity Specialists. I wonder what a gig like that pays. If if is palpable nonsense does it pay extra if you can make it sound plausible? What is another word, Phil, for disseminate? Is it Propagate? We could be Impact Investment Propagation Specialists. But first we have to qualify for the loan to buy the shoes. I already pawned the dog. My liver is shot, but we could sell my kidney, if only the market were not saturated with cadavers from China. Speaking of cadavers, could we dig up your mother and sell the bones?