The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can be Done About it

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9780195373387: The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can be Done About it
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In the universally acclaimed and award-winning The Bottom Billion, Paul Collier reveals that fifty failed states--home to the poorest one billion people on Earth--pose the central challenge of the developing world in the twenty-first 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. "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 "Rich in both analysis and recommendations.... Read this book. You will learn much you do not know. It will also change the way you look at the tragedy of persistent poverty in a world of plenty."--Financial Times

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Review:


"An important book."--Fareed Zakaria


"Insightful and influential."--Newsweek


"An acclaimed bestseller in 2007, and already a set text in development courses worldwide, Paul Collier's The Bottom Billion has far from exhausted its potential to change the way we think about, teach about, and legislate about global poverty...Its policy recommendations, many of which focus on empowering domestic actors, including through voluntary international standards to serve as rallying cries for reform movements, are not only pragmatic but also addressed squarely to the audience that matters most: the G8. It does not hurt its crossover appeal that The Bottom Billon is a model of good writing for the public understanding of social science."--Ethics & International Affairs (publication of the Carnegie Council)


"Excellent...his key recommendations are right on the mark, and his message should resonate in the development discourse for years to come...Highly recommended."--CHOICE


"This is a path-breaking work providing penetrating insights into the largely unexplored borderland between economics and politics."--George Soros


"One of the most important books on world poverty in a very long time."--Richard John Neuhaus, founder of First Things Magazine


"Provides a penetrating reassessment of why vast populations remain trapped in poverty, despite endless debate over foreign aid policy among wealthy countries and institutions."--Barbara McDougall, Jury Chair, The Lionel Gelber Prize, and Canada's Former Secretary of State for External Affairs


"Workable development ideas are hard to find, but Professor Collier may have identified the next frontier for positive change."--Tyler Cowen, The New York Times


"This slip of a book is set to become a classic of the 'how to help the world's poorest' genre. Crammed with statistical nuggets and common sense, his book should be compulsory reading for anyone embroiled in the hitherto thankless business of trying to pull people out of the pit of poverty where the 'bottom billion' of the world's population of 6.6 billion seem irredeemably stuck."--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. As Collier rightly says, it is time to dispense with the false dichotomies that bedevil the current debate on Africa. 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


"Rich in both analysis and recommendations...Read this book. You will learn much you do not know. It will also change the way you look at the tragedy of persistent poverty in a world of plenty."--Financial Times


"Terrifically readable."
--Time.com


About the Author:

Paul Collier is Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University. Former director of Development Research at the World Bank, he is one of the world's leading experts on African economies, and is the author of Breaking the Conflict Trap, among other books.

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