How to move beyond the failures of development? In the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) approach, the state, development, and public goods disappear. Instead, nongovernmental organizations help businesspeople realize poor people’s capacity to create infrastructure and business models. I draw on the history of development to show how the BOP is an unintended outgrowth of the critique of development. Drawing on previous formulations of the BOP, I propose that the infrastructures created by poor people’s social practices can also be understood as a “commons” for which compensation should be paid or as a public good to be regulated by the state.

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