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

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

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By (author) Paul Collier

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 18mm | 180g
  • Publication date: 2 October 2008
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0195374630
  • ISBN 13: 9780195374636
  • Sales rank: 8,496

Product description

In this elegant and impassioned synthesis from one of the world's leading experts on Africa and poverty, economist Paul Collier writes persuasively that although nearly five billion of the world's people are beginning to climb from desperate poverty and to benefit from globalization's reach to developing countries, there is a "bottom billion" of the world's poor whose countries, largely immune to the forces of global economy, are falling farther behind and are in danger of falling apart, separating permanently and tragically from the rest of the world. Collier identifies and explains the four traps that prevent the homelands of the world's billion poorest people from growing and receiving the benefits of globalization - civil war, the discovery and export of natural resources in otherwise unstable economies, being landlocked and therefore unable to participate in the global economy without great cost, and finally, ineffective governance. As he demonstrates that these billion people are quite likely in danger of being irretrievably left behind, Collier argues that we cannot take a "headless heart" approach to these seemingly intractable problems; rather, that we must harness our despair and our moral outrage at these inequities to a reasoned and thorough understanding of the complex and interconnected problems that the world's poorest people face.

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Author information

Paul Collier is Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University. Former Director of the Development Research group at the World Bank, he is one of the world's leading experts on African economies. Author of several books including Breaking the Conflict Trap, Collier has served as the senior adviser to Blair's Commission on Africa and his research has been featured in The Economist, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

Review quote

Fluent, thought-provoking book. David Smith, The Observer Rarely can a book on this subject have been such a pleasurable read. David Smith, The Observer Every politician should read this. Simon Shaw, Irish Mail on Sunday. There are hundreds of books on development but none as well written and authoritative as Paul Collier's 'The Bottom Billion' Edmund Conway, Daily Telegraph Every politician should read this. Simon Shaw, Mail on Sunday This is a short book, but one which brilliantly challenges conventional views about development and aid. Nick Rennison, Sunday Times This extraordinarily important book should be read by everyone who cares about Africa. Max Hastings, Sunday Times A splendid book... rich in both analysis and recommendations... read this book. Martin Wolf, Finacial Times It will change the way you look at the tragedy of persistent poverty in a world of plenty. Martin Wolf, Financial Times Set to become a classic. His book should be compulsory reading for anyone embroiled in the thankless task of trying to pull people out of the pit of poverty. The Economist An arresting, provocative book. If you care about the fate of the poorest people in the world, and want to understand what can be done to help them, read this book. If you don't care, read it anyway. Tim Harford, author of 'The Undercover Economist'