Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places

864 Words4 Pages
Since the initiation of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000, securing democratic freedoms in developing countries has become a major global-political concern. As a result, various donor nations have implemented good governance conditionalities in their financial aid policies, emphasising the establishment of fair democratic elections in recipient countries. However, efforts to reinforce legitimate democratic governments in developing states have been largely unsuccessful. In the book Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places, economist Paul Collier examines how the international community’s obsession with democracy and elections has hindered the developmental process in what he has termed as the bottom billion countries. By employing economic methods of analysis, Collier demonstrates how current international development polices have exacerbated rather than diminished existing issues impeding reconstruction efforts in low-income states. In order to help remedy the harmful effects of these policies, Collier proposes several innovative solutions he believes would better support political and economic development in bottom billion countries. However, Wars, Guns, and Votes is not without its limitations. Although Collier offers a new economic perspective to topics previously dominated by other social sciences, he fails to define key concepts relevant to his argument. Furthermore, Collier’s writing style is extremely convoluted. Therefore, one can see that although Wars, Guns, and Votes provides a new economic based approach to development, the book is limited in terms of comprehensiveness and accessibility. Collier begins Wars, Guns, and Votes, by examining the issues hindering the successful implementation of democr... ... middle of paper ... ...then analyzed the different social, economic, and political characteristics of each country that has either experienced or was close to experiencing a civil war. As a result, Collier and Hoeffler were able to conclude (Collier 2010, p.123-124) “that low-income countries are more likely to have outbreaks of civil war”. Therefore, one can see that, although the causes of civil war have been extensively studied by other academic disciplines, Collier’s statistical approach offers a new qualitative perspective to the topic. Furthermore, Collier’s use of economic methods of analysis helps to support the legitimacy of his main arguments, as well as strengthens the view that the book is well-rounded and well-researched. Despite the books strengths, however, it also suffers from a number of weaknesses. In the book, issues of political violence in bottom billion countries
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