DSA2018: Global inequalities
- Jason Hart (University of Bath) email
- Andrew Bowman (University of Edinburgh) email
- Peter Edward (Newcastle University) email
Reducing inequality is a Sustainable Development Goal that the private sector should help realise (along with the other SDGs). What does the evidence around public-private partnerships thus far suggest about the role of private sector involvement in addressing inequality within and between nations?
The UN SDGs greatly expand the scope of global development aims. By introducing goals not only to reduce inequalities directly but also for 'decent work and economic growth' and 'responsible production and consumption', the SDGs expect much greater recognition of inequality in its myriad forms.
Recognising the challenges of tackling inequality, the UN has called for a revitalised global partnership that includes the private-sector working together with governments and civil society. India, for example, has legislated to require corporations to engage in CSR. In Africa, public-private partnerships bring private capital into relatively high-risk development projects, with aid finance reallocated to leverage private investment into such schemes. Such changes may indicate a shift in development roles, giving greater influence to profit-oriented actors at the expense of concerns for social, environmental and economic justice. On the other hand, the involvement of corporations might provoke greater societal pressure for conventional growth-focused business models to become more 'inclusive' by placing greater weight on poverty and equality objectives. And what role might not-for-profit development organisations play in ensuring that inequality is addressed not simply as an issue of economics but also as one of politics and, ultimately, power?
We welcome papers from diverse perspectives and disciplines that engage with these rapid and significant changes in the Business and Development relationship. Papers can address the issues at a generalized conceptual level, or provide insight or examples at the level of particular sectors of the economy or geographies.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Between risk and responsibility: Sustainable development in the mining industry
This paper examines how the mining industry reconciles the conflicting demands of stakeholders in pursuit of 'sustainable development' in Zambia, Ghana and Peru. Central to this is how companies conceptualise sustainable development through the lenses of risk and corporate social responsibility.
This paper examines the conflicted role of the mining industry in sustainable development. Subject to decades of civil society critique, mining was once a pariah, the archetypal environmentally destructive industry. However, since the 1992 Rio conference to the more recent responses to the Sustainable Development Goals, the mining industry has moved to reorient itself through a series of global initiatives which elaborate ways mining can and does contribute to sustainable development. In this paper I explore how the industry has sought to reconcile the conflicting demands of a range of stakeholders in pursuit of 'sustainable development' in Zambia, Ghana and Peru. Central to this is the way mining companies internally conceptualise sustainable development through the lenses of risk and corporate social responsibility. Recasting multi-scalar pressures from investors, national governments, civil society and local communities on mining companies to improve their environmental and social impacts as a range of 'risks', shapes how companies resource and target their efforts with important consequences. While sustainable development investments in developing countries are presented as atechnical benevolent interventions by mining companies, this paper examines the knowledges and practices of these interventions to promote sustainable development as deeply political, contested and contradictory.
Do 'creating shared values' and 'inclusive business' go hand-in-hand to formulate a long-term business plan?
Using 'Creating shared values' principle and promoting traditional organic crop varieties in remote rural areas, can provide win-win situation for both large companies and communities. Various cases underlines the long-term benefits of inclusive businesses promoted by large companies.
Idea of 'creating shared values' (CSV) provides framework where-in large companies strategize for long term social good along with the economic returns. However, management principles such as resource dependency and transaction cost theory obstruct companies to enter in remote rural areas, where people lack access to income generating activities. Infrastructure gaps and lack of availability of human capital in remote areas are seen as the hindering factors for profit making opportunities. Yet, these areas are often found to be producing ecologically resilient endemic commodities which can yield good economic returns while allowing participation of community members in value-chains. If companies prepare long-term CSV strategy to facilitate organisation of small producers within the framework of inclusive business, it is possible to ensure streamlining of productions, and to achieve poverty reduction. Present paper focuses on case studies from rural India and Africa where-in large companies did reach to remote areas, analysed the strengths of 'organic' commodities produced in the regions, invested either directly or through intermediaries to organise community members and eventually managed to reduce uncertainties of production. The cases reveal how companies achieved development of new remunerative value chains by altering methods of aggregation, processing and distribution of organic produce to create win-win situation for both, community members and for companies. Overall, the author concludes with the analysis of risks and potential associated with promotion of inclusive businesses in remote areas, where-in families are involved in the production of ecologically sustainable commodities.
The winners and losers of globalisation - A case study of the Construction Sector in Accra, Ghana
The research identifies winners and losers of globalisation in the real estate and construction sectors of Accra. In doing so, it examines the dynamics of local industrial upgrading and the importance of corrective national policies to mitigate the downsides of such process of globalisation.
This article contributes to the discussion on winners and losers of globalisation, by presenting a case study of FDI and its impact on the development of the local construction and real estate sectors in the capital city of Ghana, Accra.
For this purpose, the study combines the points of view of policy-makers with those of managers and workers of both foreign and domestic companies in the construction sector. The results, firstly, highlight the role that exposure to international business models plays in the industrial upgrading of local Ghanaian contractors. Secondly, they shed light on wage formation dynamics and on workers' own definition of satisfactory employment conditions. In this sense, workers are divided into low and high skilled workers, and it is shown that both stand to gain from globalisation. Thirdly, they show that an integrated policy reform approach is needed to address the interdependency of the latter two findings. Finally, local contractors who are not successful in entering joint ventures or technical collaboration projects are identified as those who are losing out in the current fast process of globalisation and development.
In particular, this study stresses the role of public financial constraints as an obstacle to the implementation of policy reforms in the construction sector. And, at the same time, it emphasises that national policy-making institutions should prioritise their role of oversight to ensure the enforcement of the existing legislation on foreign-domestic private partnership agreements.
Flash Blending Development Finance? How to Make Aid Donor-Private Sector Partnerships Help Meet the SDGs
Does reality match the enthusiastic rhetoric on the role of the private sector in development? This paper examines blended development finance and broader donor-private sector partnerships, assessing whether these reduce poverty and inequality, advance gender justice, and promote sustainability.
Development discourse increasingly looks to the private sector to play a key role in filling the estimated $2.5 trillion annual financing gap on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Donors see blended public-private development finance as a crucial modality that allows them to strategically use small amounts of official development assistance to leverage substantial private funds and overcome market failures in developing countries. But does the reality match the enthusiastic rhetoric? Or is blending really just a subsidy that drains scarce aid funds away from financing poverty reduction and environmental protection? Does it mostly go to private investments that would have occurred even in the absence of a public financial component? Is it a way for donors to help boost the profitability of their own companies, thereby constituting a form of tied aid? Does private sector engagement in development help reduce poverty and inequality, advance gender justice, and achieve environmental sustainability? This paper synthesizes two years of Oxfam research on the role of the private sector in development. It will examine blended development finance, focusing on European Union, Netherlands, and World Bank blending facilities, based on work carried out in collaboration with Eurodad. In addition, the paper presents the results of Oxfam research on donor-private sector partnerships, which developed frameworks for categorization and assessment, as well as the results from applying the assessment framework to 20 partnerships involving nine OECD donors, and findings from additional case studies of donor-private sector partnerships in the health and agriculture sectors.
Critical discourse analysis of the role of private sector in international development policy: a comparison of the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals
Critical discourse analysis (CDA) (Fairclough 2012) is employed to consider discourses of the private sector in the key documents of the MDGs and the SDGs in order to examine the extent to which the international discourse has evolved in the 2000-2015 period.
The private sector as a development actor has received considerable attention in Agenda 2030 and the SDGs, probably the most influential international development policy of the current period until the year 2030. This paper employs a genealogical approach to discourse which locates discourses on the private sector in the field of prior discourses in order to consider which discourses are evident in both the SDGs and MDGs. Two prior meta-discourses of the private sector are identified in the literature: one in which the private sector is seen to be a development actor which can support a pro-poor development agenda proposed by many international organisations and developed countries (Langan, 2009); and a second where the private sector is considered to have conflicting interests with development, largely proposed by some civil society actors and academics (Scheyvens et al 2016). In general, the former discourse of the private sector was found to be dominant in both the key texts of the MDGs and the SDGs. Evidence from civil society (Pingeot, 2014) and academics (Scheyvens et al 2016) indicates that private sector actors were influential in determining the final text of both the MDGs and the SDGs. However, their influence was greater in the case of the SDGs which probably accounts for the fact that the private sector appears to receive primary rather than secondary emphasis. Although other articles have used CDA to consider the MDGs and the SDGs (Briant Carant 2017, Cummings et al 2017), the focus on the private sector is novel.
DFID and the UK private sector in Africa: a case review of opportunities and conflicting interests
The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) is increasingly committed to the private sector as an active development partner. This case analysis reviews the opportunities and conflicting interests in the nexus of UK private sector actors, DFID, and DFID's goals in six African countries.
The UK government's Department for International Development (DFID) is increasingly committed to working with private sector actors to deliver its overseas aid and development agenda. However, this commitment is couched in the concept of 'Shared Prosperity' which is underpinned by the assumption that the interests of both private sector actors and the poor can be accommodated, whilst also achieving mutually beneficial outcomes. Pluralist conceptions of power and conflicting interest from sociological political economy theory are integrated with corporate responsibility literature on business-poverty relationships in Africa. This provides a framework for reviewing the opportunities and conflicting interests in a case analysis of three UK headquartered multinationals, in relation to DFID's goals in Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. The case analysis demonstrates that significant opportunities exist for private sector engagement with DFID where core business functions and commercial interests overlap with DFID development priorities. However, capacity also exists for the case companies to simultaneously undermine DFIDs goals, particularly as a result of largely unaccountable positions of influence within domestic and international arenas. The findings suggest that this DFID-private sector relationship is broadly neo-pluralistic in nature which raises theoretical questions regarding DFID's capacity to manage both private sector interests and the needs and interests of the poor. This has implications for DFID policymakers on how best to adopt a critical attitude in its relationship with private sector actors, whilst maximising the equitable nature of this nexus of business interests; donor interests, and poverty alleviation for DFID's intended beneficiaries.
Impact investing and the emergence of new public-private partnerships in Brazil: Challenging local inequalities through the market?
Do impact investing and new public-private partnerships for development hold the key to reducing inequality? This paper will interrogate this question, by exploring how issues of inequality are framed and approached by social investors in Brazil.
This paper draws on recent ethnographic research in São Paulo, Brazil, to examine the practice of impact investing and new forms of private-public partnership (PPP) in the development arena. The global trend for impact investing sees capital investment into social businesses and Bottom of the Pyramid schemes (creating products and services for the poor), in the pursuit of both financial return and social impact. Over the last decade, Brazil has emerged as a regional leader for this trend. The country is now home to a small but diverse social investment market, made up of national and international investment funds, philanthropists and private family offices, and both multilateral and national development agencies (including the Inter-American Development Bank and BNDES, the Brazilian Development Bank). Within this market, PPPs between state agencies and private investors are heralded as the new frontier for development financing, posited on the primacy of market-based solutions to Brazil's enduring development challenges. This paper will discuss the implications of this trend for the issue of inequality. It will explore how diverse investors conceive of the causes and solutions to inequalities in access to housing, healthcare and education - common focus areas for impact investment and social enterprise. Finally, it will ask if PPPs and impact investing models really hold the potential for tackling inequalities in Brazil, when the generation of wealth among private corporate and philanthropic investors continues to depend on enduring structural mechanisms of inequality within the Brazilian - and global - economy.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.