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Book Review: The Bottom Billion

1787 words - 8 pages

Throughout this paper I am going to summarize Paul Colliers’s book, “The Bottom Billion”. Next, I will relate Collier’s argument to three key concepts; failed/failing states, Globalization, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Secondly, I will critically evaluate three of the Collier’s weaknesses in his book. The first critique I have is his disbelief that democracy could fix the problem of corrupt governing in the bottom billion countries. The second critique that I have is his idea that military intervention is a necessity in order to get the bottom billion countries flourishing. My last critique is about his idea that the bottom billion countries constantly declining will directly correlate with our children in the United States facing an alarmingly divided world and all its consequences. Finally, I will conclude the book review and why I think his conclusion may be volatile. Collier’s thesis is basically why poor countries are poor and what can first world countries as in the United States do about it. He breaks the book into five parts. The first part deals with defining what the actual issue is and he labels it “Falling Behind and Falling Apart”. The second part is talking about four traps that keep the bottom billion in their dilemma. He breaks it down with the conflict trap, the natural resource trap, the landlocked with bad neighbors trap, and the bad governance in a small country trap. The third part talks about globalization. Collier believes that Globalization is part of the reason why the bottom billion countries are continuing to sink. Part four of the book deals with strategies that he believes will help fix the major problems of the bottom billion. Collier breaks this into four topics: Aid to the rescue, military intervention, laws and charters, and trade policy for reversing marginalization. Finally, the last part of his book concludes the idea of what needs to happen in order for his plan to be implemented. Collier titles this part “An Agenda for Action”. Collier uses all the levels of analysis, but he mainly focuses on the system level, explaining why the bottom billion countries are continuing to sink. System level of analysis is an analytical approach that emphasizes the importance of the impact of global conditions on the actions of states and other actors (Boyer). Collier states, “All in all, the cost of a typical civil war to the country and its neighbors can be put at around $64 billion. In recent decades about two new civil wars have started each year, so the global cost has been over $100 billion a year, or around double the global aid budget” (Collier). Collier focuses on the importance of these states’ actions on the global condition. Although Collier favors the system level of analysis he also favors internationalism. This whole book is about how he is trying to increase global prosperity. Collier is trying to pull the bottom billion out of poverty and into prosperity. A failed state or failing...

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