Paul Collier’s book is about the future of the world. Most of the world is on the positive trajectory set by growth and prosperity. The 21st Century is the age of the middle class. For most of the world, things are looking up. However, Collier is concerned with a group of countries that are not part of this trajectory. Collier is concerned with approximately 58 countries that constitute about one billion people, or 20 percent of the earth’s population (Collier 7). This “bottom billion” group belongs to countries that are not progressing with the rest of the world’s pace; in fact, they seem to be diverging and falling apart when everyone else around them are growing. The purpose of the book is to show these countries are, in fact, diverging. He shows them caught in four different “traps.” After proving this, Collier has the challenge of making the case for reform and what can be done to fix these countries and put them on the course towards growth and prosperity. Finally, Collier has to show why the western world should care about supporting these countries and reversing their decline and how their current poor trajectory represents a drain on the global economy and security environment. The Bottom Billion is written for a broad audience; essentially all citizens of democratic countries. Collier encourages action by all levels but recommendations are made for policymakers in G8 countries that are responsible and interested in achieving improvement for impoverished countries.
Paul Collier’s The Bottom Billion, originally published in 2007, details his personal theory of why the poorest countries in the world, or the bottom billion, continue to see little to no economic growth on their perpetual cycle of poverty. Collier gained years of experience in the field of global poverty as the director of the research department at the World Bank, and as a professor at both Oxford and Harvard. His comprehensive theory, developed after nearly 35 years of research, outlines four “traps” which make it extremely difficult for many countries to escape poverty: conflict, natural resources, geographic location, and bad governance. Even if a country is able to escape one of these development traps, they face an even larger problem: “the global market is now far more hostile to new entrants than it was in the 1980’s” (Collier 6). Therefore, Collier’s main argument is that these traps have held many countries back just enough to the point where true growth and development is nearly impossible.
It is sad that at the beginning of the 21st century so many of the world’s population is living under abject poverty. The problem has less to do with the poor people themselves but more to do with the way the world’s economy and trade relations are organized. As many of the leaders from poor countries have often said, “we do not want aid, we want fair trade”. It is only through fair trade that the poor of the world can be assisted to grow out of their poverty.
Economist Jeffery Sachs says we should think of poverty and development as a ladder, with developing nations at the bottom and wealthy nations at the top. However, far below that ladder is the is a trap, the poverty trap, “any self-reinforcing mechanism which causes poverty to persist” (Azariadis & Stachurski, 2004, p. 33). The trap not just what happens when nations fall into poverty, but rather a cycle where once you fall into deep enough poverty it becomes nearly impossible to climb back out, countries whose resources and GDP are so low and deficiencies are so high they cannot be balanced, without outside aid.
Impoverished nations, typically hold very little power in the international system. Therefore, from the realism viewpoint, they are of little importance. They are not typically a threat militarily or socially. However, there is a strong desire in the realism view for balance and order in the international system and an impoverished nation with an unpredictable economy could be seen as a
In the global economy, issues of poverty has for some time been at the center of developmental goal of nations. The poor nations are eager to come out of poverty; the rich nations are evolving welfare strategies to improve the
...s extreme poverty that we contribute to, then we are at least partially responsible for its alleviation. As a consequence, we do owe an effective and changing solution. In recognising responsibility we now need to find solutions and do our part to stop the phenomenon of poverty destroying more innocent lives. The question is now whether affluent states do have the ability to make those changes. Pogge, whilst continually advocating minor changes and simple solutions in the two papers, does not actually suggest the mechanisms of any. As a consequence, more thought needs to be given to the possible solutions that can alleviate global poverty and eliminate our debt to the poor. This however, does not justify continued imposition of the problem. Just like if a builder is incapable of fixing leak he would hire help, so too must society look to find an adequate solution.
Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemogly and James Robinson stipulates its own answers for questions asked by most who study or engage with development, war and poverty. The central question is – why are some nations strong and others weak? Why are some trapped in perpetual poverty and others thriving in excess? Why do some nations fail while others do not? The authors argue, very basically, that it is “institutions, more precisely the political institutions that determine economic institutions” (Boldrin, Levine and Modica) that determine whether a nation will succeed or fall apart. They present a variety of important examples and make statements meant to force their audience to really think about privilege, luck and what truly determines our fate. This essay will first present a summary of the book and its central ideas, and then it will discuss whether these are valid, important and how they fit into the broader debate.
Why nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, is a captivating read for all college economic courses. Coauthored by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, they optimistically attempt to answer the tough question of why some nations are rich and others are poor through political economic theories. They lay it all out in the preface and first chapter. According to Acemoglu and Robinson, the everyday United States citizen obtains more wealth than the every day Mexican, sub-Saharan African, Ethiopian, Mali, Sierra Leonne and Peruvian citizen as well as some Asian countries. The authors strategically arranged each chapter in a way that the reader, whomever he or she is, could easily grasp the following concept. Extractive nations that have political leadership and financial inconsistencies within their institutions are the largest contributor to poverty and despair within most countries. It also states that countries with socioeconomic institutions that work ‘for the people and by the people’, or in other words, focus on the internal agenda of that
The neoliberal policies have benefited some people in generating great wealth for them, but controversially, the policies have failed to benefit the people who live in extreme poverty and those people are the most in need for financial support (Makwana, 2006). In the last 2 to 3 decades, the wealth disparity between nations as well as within nations has increased. Currently, one out of every 5 children in the United States is in a state of poverty, continual hunger, insecurity and lack of health care (MIT, 2000). This situation is becoming even more desperate. Between 1960 and 1980, the developing countries’ economic growth was 3.2 percent. Then it dropped significantly to 0.7 percent between 1980 and 2000, and this is the period when neolibe...