Go to page

Bibliographic Metadata

 The document is publicly available on the WWW


Aiming to contribute to the UNITED NATIONS’ Sustainable Development Goal 1: “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”, this dissertation sets out to revive, elaborate and apply an alternative and – until now – neglected approach to economics that was developed in the context of poverty research by the internationally renowned German-Chilean economist and Alternative Nobel laureate MANFRED MAX-NEEF (1932-2019) in the 1970s: barefoot economics. To that end, two consecutive scientific studies are presented: the first dedicated to barefoot economics in theory; the second dedicated to barefoot economics in practice. The theoretical-conceptual study elaborates barefoot economics as a well-defined and distinctive non-positivist methodological approach to empirical economic research in the context of poverty-related phenomena and substantiates barefoot economics by identifying phenomenology as its scientific-philosophical foundation. A five-year real-world experiment on bottom-up franchising was conducted in the non-formal education sector of the MATHARE slums in NAIROBI (Kenya), which applied the established barefoot economic approach within an empirical case study. Its results demonstrate the existence of linguistically induced incoherence between, on one hand, the given social and economic reality at the base of the pyramid and, on the other hand, the theoretical presuppositions that are commonly taken for granted in the prevailing neoliberal discourse of poverty research in the economic sciences. In summary, this dissertation indicates that barefoot economics is capable of: (1) complementing positive economics in a dialectical manner; (2) creating awareness of the need for a post-neoliberal human scale discourse; and (3) performing poverty alleviation in the course of its research practice. Against this backdrop, this dissertation makes a clear call for the greater consideration of barefoot economics in academia.