Inclusive businesses as a development strategy to fight poverty

understanding how multilateral organizations promote engagement in Progressive Neoliberalism


  • Natália Sant'Anna Torres
  • Francisco José Mendes Duarte Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro



Global Development Strategies, Multilateral Organizations, Progressive Neoliberalism, Inclusive businesses, Criticism


Inclusive businesses implement policies aimed at bringing a marginalized part of the global population into value chains. This paper analyzes these social inclusion strategies which have gained increasing importance in the development debate. In order to do so, we have examined the role of two multilateral organizations – the United Nations and the World Bank – in constructing the concept of inclusive businesses and analyzed 107 cases which are considered inclusive. From the analysis of how inclusive businesses incorporate low-income people and microenterprises into value chains, we identified three central approaches: inclusion through consumption, distribution chains, and supply chains. We rely on Boltanski and Chiapello's (1999) theoretical model to understand the assumptions and dynamics behind each of these three approaches and to grasp the moral justifications that legitimize them. In this sense, such strategies are understood here as a response by capitalism to its critics, a kind of response that allows neoliberal capitalism to absorb the less threatening demands of the progressive agenda and promote new forms of engagement in the system. We conclude that these development strategies do not address the structural asymmetries of the global productive and distributive system, since they replace an agenda for decreasing inequality and poverty eradication with one of mere poverty relief and overshadow the role of the state in the development process. The first step to move beyond this approach requires bringing collective and redistributive demands back into the center of development debate.


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Como Citar

TORRES, N. S.; DUARTE, F. J. M. Inclusive businesses as a development strategy to fight poverty: understanding how multilateral organizations promote engagement in Progressive Neoliberalism . Brazilian Journal of International Relations, Marília, SP, v. 10, n. 2, p. 382–409, 2021. DOI: 10.36311/2237-7743.2021.v10n2.p382-409. Disponível em: Acesso em: 30 maio. 2024.