Global poverty, Collier argues, is actually falling quite rapidly. The real crisis lies in a group of about 50 failing states, the bottom billion, ...Show synopsisGlobal poverty, Collier argues, is actually falling quite rapidly. The real crisis lies in a group of about 50 failing states, the bottom billion, whose problems defy traditional approaches to alleviating poverty. He contends that these failed states pose the core challenge of the developing world in the 21st century.Hide synopsis
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The "Bottom Billion" is required reading for anyone involved in African economic development. It provides a framework within which policy advisors, technical experts and grassroots practitioners can see the way their work must come together to overcome the four traps that condemn a disproportionate number of African countries to be in the "bottom billion" of the World's population. His four traps, notably, 1) being landlocked, 2) suffering bad governance, 3) having bad neighbours, and 4) emerging from civil war or prolonged distress can be solved only if actions at the sub-national, national and regional levels come together. It is a call for leadership at all levels.
The author and company are a forced to be reckoned with if you put your trust into the world of statistics aka rational choice theory. I feel the book is a good read for anyone in the field, but at moments the causality of the arguments left me feeling empty and wanting more. Some qualitative research should have been put forth. The book is necessary for the development discipline and espouses that modernization theory and its pundits should be given another chance. I enjoyed the criticism about the partisanship of Development Aid Money. Mr. Collier does provide some interesting solutions to the poverty problem in the "Bottom Billion" that has convinced me that his experience through the years has provided him with much insight in to the intrinsic problems of the "other half" and how they have failed to develop. I do want to point out that one of his solutions when talking about the system to direct the flow of Chad's aid spending hints back to colonial days. Not that this wouldn't be an great experiment to try if the recipient country was willing.
Paul Collier writes an engaging and, at times, painful book on why the poorest countries are failing. While the Live Aid concerts and the calls for debt cancellation may be all the trend only he seems to be honest enough to look at the future and not at the past. I do agree with his assessment on the curse of natural resources. Botswana is correctly shown to be a role model for Africa. I admire his courage in being honest enough to admit that we Africans have followed a beggar thy neighbor approach (infrastructure, wars) that has only hurt us more. He reminds me of MSF (Doctors Without Borders). He does not want to sustain a development industry. He wants the emergencies taken care of so that we can take care of ourselves. The best book I have read, as an African, on Africa.
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