- Series: Grove Art
- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 25, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195311450
- ISBN-13: 978-0195311457
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 6.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 165 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #525,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a service we offer sellers that lets them store their products in Amazon's fulfillment centers, and we directly pack, ship, and provide customer service for these products. Something we hope you'll especially enjoy: FBA items qualify for FREE Shipping and Amazon Prime.
If you're a seller, Fulfillment by Amazon can help you increase your sales. We invite you to learn more about Fulfillment by Amazon .
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Like new, the front of the jacket has some discoloration and residue, but the rest of the book is in perfect condition
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 64%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The first half of the book is dedicated to explaining the vicious cycles and patterns that keep the poorest countries in such bad circumstances. Collier outlines four major "traps" that tend to prohibit economic growth, including the Conflict Trap, the Natural Resources Trap, Being Landlocked, and Bad Government. The only one of these that at first seems counterintuitive is the Natural Resources Trap, but Collier explains that when protections are not in place, or irresponsible governments are in power, gluts of money from natural resources often lead to wasteful spending (or worse), and a boom and bust cycle dependent on commodities that generates instability. After becoming accustomed to large amounts of money and spending it on unnecessary projects that later become difficult to cut, the typical outcome is underinvestment in growth. The other traps are fairly straightforward and often inter-related.
While discussing the traps that keep the bottom billion down, a number of surprising conclusions were made. One involves the problem of too much aid without focus. Just giving poor countries money does not solve the problems that keep poor countries poor. At its worse, aid can become a sort of global welfare program that doesn't encourage productive, growth-oriented change. Also, democracies are not always effective at promoting positive change. Especially in countries with strong ethnic voting blocks, democracy often leads to suppression of one group as well as vote-buying by politicians. Without strong limitations on government and strong individual protections in place, democracies can actually be less effective at bringing the poorest countries out of stagnation than more authoritarian governments. Indeed, there are a myriad of factors that make it difficult to break out of the bottom billion, even with good policy. Some of these problems seem unavoidable. Investor opinion, capital flow out of poor countries, and the migration of educated workers all hamper the development of poor countries, and are all problems without easy (or maybe existing) solutions.
Collier also attempts to make a case for helping the bottom billion for our own sakes, and not just out of pity for the desperate. His intentions were to not only show the dangers of ignoring the problem (poor, desperate people may turn to violence and terrorism), but to show the benefits of incorporating more people into a common world economy. Actually putting an economic price tag on helping the bottom billion, and even stating that it may not be economically worthwhile in some cases, may seem callous at first, but it meshes with the overall tone of the book, taking an unemotional and logical look at the situation.
Besides highlighting and explaining the problems and why they are so stubborn, Collier outlines his recommendations for starting to help bring the bottom billion out of the darkness. His solutions are wide-ranging, and include increased, but targeted, aid, as well as possible military interventions to enforce security. Perhaps the biggest focus of the book revolves around creating and abiding by strong international charters. Setting guidelines for economic policy and trade practices would encourage poor countries to establish growth-oriented plans with the lure of increased partnerships with rich countries. Because real change for countries of the bottom billion must happen internally, providing incentives for good management may be our most powerful tool for helping to poorest in the world. If we can help the poorest countries focus on positive change, real long-term benefits will follow.
The biggest criticism I have for THE BOTTOM BILLION is the over-reliance on Collier's own research. Literally, he cites no studies that he or his collaborators did not conduct. At times, the book seems a bit self-aggrandizing, especially as Collier discusses his personal experiences rubbing shoulders with world leaders and reformers. While full of good and seemingly-accurate information, the book could have been improved by being more inclusive of other research and other opinions. Lastly, parts of the book read much like a scientific journal on economics, and can be a bit dry. Just be prepared for that, and I think you'll find the book meets or exceeds your expectations.
I thought the writer made many good arguments. The problem today as the writer points out is that many countries are failing to develop. The writer then proceeds to explain his theories as why it is happening, and what he thinks should be done. Almost all he says is interesting and enlightening.
My complaint with the book, is that the way he presents his arguments. I would want to see tables, graphs, charts, figures, etc. to show his points. We are given heaps of points, many of which sound good but no data to back it up. Having read the book, all I feel I have read is a lot of plausible arguments.