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Book to Own: The Bottom Billion


The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It, ” Paul Collier (Link to Amazon)

For the first post I thought I would cement in the cyberworld a recommendation for one of the most important books in the fix-the-po’-all-over-the-world genre. I have yet to fully digest this short and very readable book, which teams with both impressive (and useful) factoids (e.g., 38% of private wealth in Africa is held outside the country) and “big picture” insights on how global actors like the IMF need to change their framework for assessing and positively impacting the diverse group of states that find themselves stuck in the poverty cycle.

He begins by isolating his study on the states who are not only among the worst off in the world, but have also not seen any meaningful growth in the past 50 or so years. He then details the different traps (e.g., natural resources trap, conflict trap) that are keeping these states in the poverty cycle, while also explaining the role of geography, history, etc. Very enlightening.

Excellent piece by the Economist on the book entitled “Springing the Traps,” which concludes: In the past two years, two famously opposing clarion calls, one from the aid-loving left, the other from the aid-is-always-wasted sceptical right, have been trumpeted. The one, Jeffrey Sachs’s “The End of Poverty”, exaggerates the value of aid, especially in the massive dollops he proposes. The other, William Easterly’s “The White Man’s Burden”, rightly mocks the delusions of the aid lobby but exaggerates the negative aspect. Mr Collier, though tending towards the second view, steers a masterly course between the two.

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One Response

  1. […] case for intervention in the bottom billion In the Bottom Billion, Paul Collier focused on the various traps that ensnare the poorest of societies, preventing the […]

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