Michael Porter is generally recognized as the father of the modern strategy field and has been identified in a variety of rankings and surveys as the world’s most influential thinker on management and competitiveness. He is also a leading authority on the application of competitive principles to social problems such as health care, the environment, and corporate responsibility. Porter is the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at the Harvard Business and the author of 18 books and over 125 articles. He received a B.S.E. with high honors in aerospace and mechanical engineering from Princeton University in 1969; an M.B.A. with high distinction in 1971 from the Harvard Business School, where he was a George F. Baker Scholar; and a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University in 1973. In 2001, Harvard Business School and Harvard University jointly created the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, dedicated to furthering Porter’s work.
Topic: Aid and Development
Michael Porter: See the economic system of the world is not a zero sum game. Everybody can get richer if everybody is more productive.
There’s an unlimited amount of human needs to be met. It’s like there’s thousands and millions and billions of needs for housing, healthcare, better living standards, more this, more that. It’s not like there’s some fixed pool of demand, and there’s a question of who can compete to serve that demand. There’s this giant pool of needs, and if we can get more productive, everybody can get wealthier in serving those needs.
It used to take 50 years for an economy to learn, and develop technology and sophistication, and therefore be able to venture out into the international arena.
Now we have massive flows of capital, and knowledge, and management, and technology.
My friend Jeff Sachs kind of stole a title; I gave a lecture at the Kennedy School about six or seven years ago [i.e. circa 2000 or 2001]; I think the lecture was titled “The End of Poverty”. I think he used that title.
And I think we have in our reach the capacity to eliminate these tremendous disparities in different parts of the world if we can harness these forces. So I think these changes are epic changes.
Recorded on: June 11, 2007