The Case for Business in Developing Economies, Ann Bernstein /Centre for Development and Enterprise, South Africa

In her book, Bernstein argues that business is increasingly being called upon to demonstrate “what more” it does for society in a climate in which companies are frequently painted as social outlaws. This ill-founded attack has been met, for the most part, by appeasement in corporate circles, giving rise to the burgeoning “corporate social responsibility” industry. Bernstein argues that instead of appeasing their critics, business should develop its own public agenda to promote the benefits of competitive capitalism for the less developed countries of the world.

According to the Centre, “the current conversation about business and society is dominated by the perspectives and interests of those who live in rich western countries. Many activists, analysts and others do not grasp the realities of poverty and the hard choices of development outside the industrialized world. As a result, the debate about business, “responsibility” and corporate involvement in development is distorted, with few voices from developing countries being heard and the positive contribution of “just doing business” almost completely unacknowledged.”

The Case for Business in Developing Economies has been praised by Martin Wolf of the Financial Times, who described it as a “call to arms”. He said Bernstein’s book is “the definitive answer to Naomi Klein’s hugely influential and hugely overrated No Logo”.

The Economist says the book: “demonstrates, beyond doubt, that companies, rather than governments or aid agencies, hold the key to prosperity in the developing world”.