In the universally acclaimed and award-winning The Bottom Billion, Paul Collier reveals that 50 failed states - home to the poorest one billion people on earth - pose the central challenge of the developing world in the 21st century. The book shines much-needed light on this group of small nations, largely unnoticed by the industrialized West, that are dropping further and further behind the majority of the world's people, often falling into an absolute decline in living standards.
A struggle rages within each of these nations between reformers and corrupt leaders - and the corrupt are winning. Collier analyzes the causes of failure, pointing to a set of traps that ensnare these countries, including civil war, a dependence on the extraction and export of natural resources, and bad governance. Standard solutions do not work, he writes; aid is often ineffective, and globalization can actually make matters worse, driving development to more stable nations.
What the bottom billion need, Collier argues, is a bold new plan supported by the Group of Eight industrialized nations. If failed states are ever to be helped, the G8 will have to adopt preferential trade policies, new laws against corruption, new international charters, and even conduct carefully calibrated military interventions. Collier has spent a lifetime working to end global poverty. In The Bottom Billion, he offers real hope for solving one of the great humanitarian crises facing the world today.
©2008 Paul Collier; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
"Set to become a classic. Crammed with statistical nuggets and common sense, his book should be compulsory reading." (The Economist)
"If Sachs seems too saintly and Easterly too cynical, then Collier is the authentic old Africa hand: he knows the terrain and has a keen ear.... If you've ever found yourself on one side or the other of those arguments -and who hasn't? - then you simply must read this book." (Niall Ferguson, The New York Times Book Review)
Collier lays out a comprehensive survey of what has caused this situation and the challenges of bringing solutions to it. Many of his research based observations are initially counter intuitive, until you get to hear about the bizarre incentives to good as well as bad behavior. Solid narration.
This book has so many amazing statistics to teach about the reality of the current economic model, drawing from the past and projecting into the future. Personally, I feel that a more creative interpretation would be beneficial to "unsticking" the bottom billion by cross-pollinating economics and politics with humanities and philosophy. For example, why not suggest restructuring the military of developed countries to primarily aid the bottom billion by supporting their infrastructure during ecological crisis as well as socio-economic. This restructuring of the current system (first from the top and then to bottom) supports it's growth by making space and eliminating what is outdated and no longer useful.
Private intellectual, writer, and retired academic. Currently R&D director for Gravitational Systems Engineering, Inc.
I really enjoyed this, primarily UN centric, treatment of the hidden realities of that group of people who rarely make the news. If you're an international traveler, these are the people that you see walking in the broiling sun, or begging on the side of the road.
Yet, the book is hopeful in offering new solutions, some that may interest business people such as low end insurance products.
Overall this book was compelling, and interesting from start to finish.
It was an interesting rationale on why poverty is cyclical.
Yes it is a strong body of research that lends an idea to why countries have a difficult time developing their economies.
It was fair, he seemed to enjoy telling the story.
I enjoyed the portion that offered solutions to the challenges faced by impoverished nations
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