martha's Reviews > The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It

The Bottom Billion by Paul Collier
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Oct 27, 14

bookshelves: nonfiction, 2008, idev
Read in September, 2008

An interesting analysis of the reasons for the most severe global poverty, and ways to overcome it. Paul Collier's thesis is that we're rapidly moving a way from a world with 1 billion people living in developed countries and 5 billion in undeveloped countries, to one where 4 billion people are rapidly developing while the poorest 1 billion are utterly stuck. I liked how he broke down the reasons into specific traps -- landlocked, natural resources, etc, and the anecdotes he told about various countries were interesting and memorable.

Interestingly this is somewhat more conservative economically than a lot of books about development; he takes some specific (and valid) issues with foreign aid. I wish he'd talked about microfinance, though, which I think would have addressed a lot of the problems you find in straight monetary aid.

I liked that he explicitly wrote this book to try to affect global economic policy -- and has the expertise to back that up, after years at the World Bank. And yet it managed to be accessible to me even though I've never taken an econ class.

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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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martha Aw, so cute, I wrote this back when I thought microfinance was the answer to everything.

message 2: by Karen (last edited Jul 02, 2012 09:57AM) (new)

Karen martha wrote: "Aw, so cute, I wrote this back when I thought microfinance was the answer to everything."

Wait, it isn't? Shit! Then what is??

martha Conditional cash transfers, apparently! So hot, so sexy right now!

(More realistically, probably some complex and overwhelming combination of capacity building -- including business literacy training so people know what to do with those microloans -- major education reform to build a skilled workforce, small and medium enterprise development for job creation, and institutional/legal reform. Or something else entirely, who knows!)

message 4: by Karen (new)

Karen Daaaaaaaamn.

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