About the book, from the publisher:
Global poverty, Paul Collier points out, is actually falling quite rapidly for about eighty percent of the world. The real crisis lies in a group of about 50 failing states, the bottom billion, whose problems defy traditional approaches to alleviating poverty.Among the praise for The Bottom Billion:
In The Bottom Billion, Collier contends that these fifty failed states pose the central challenge of the developing world in the twenty-first century. The book shines a 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 nation between reformers and corrupt leaders -- and the corrupt are winning. Collier analyzes the causes of failure, pointing to a set of traps that snare these countries, including civil war, a dependence on the extraction and export of natural resources, and bad governance. Standard solutions do not work against these traps, 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, and new international charters, and even conduct carefully calibrated military interventions.
As former director of research for the World Bank and current Director of the Center for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University, Paul 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.
"The best book on international affairs so far this year."
--Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times
"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, New York Times Book Review
"Paul Collier's book is of great importance. He has shown clearly what is happening to the poorest billion in the world, why it is happening and what can be done to open up greater opportunities for them in a world of increasing wealth. His ideas should be at the centre of the policy debate."
--Sir Nicholas Stern, Professor at the London School of Economics, Former Chief Economist of the World Bank, and author of The Stern Report on Climate Change
"This is a path-breaking work providing penetrating insights into the largely unexplored borderland between economics and politics."
"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."
"A persuasive and important challenge to current thinking on development."
"Workable development ideas are hard to find, but Professor Collier may have identified the next frontier for positive change."
--Tyler Cowen, New York Times
"This is an arresting, provocative book, written by an expert in plain English. 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 it. If you don't care, read it anyway."
--Tim Harford, Financial Times columnist and author of The Undercover Economist
Paul Collier is Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University. Former director of Development Research at the World Bank and advisor to the British government's Commission on Africa, he is one of the world's leading experts on African economies, and is the author of Breaking the Conflict Trap, among other books.
Read Collier's brief accounts on "why guilt is no solution for poverty" and "How The G8 Got It Wrong: Or Why Aid Isn’t The Answer."
The Page 99 Test: The Bottom Billion.