I’m reading “The Bottom Billion” by Oxford economist Paul Collier. The book analyzes the biggest issues facing developing countries and lays out customized recommendations for improving their circumstances. The book is highly accessible and I would highly recommend it to anyone who would like to develop a better understanding of the impacts of governance and policy as they pertain to developing nations. Collier is able to break down complex situations, with great clarity, through a remarkable economy of words. If you see the world as an interconnected whole, which is in need of a little balance, Collier will help light the way.
On to the reason for this post…
Collier’s book is set up in five parts. (1. The Issue, 2. The Traps, 3. Globalization to the Rescue? The Tools, The Struggle for the Bottom Billion) Part One sets up the what to which the rest of the book responds. Part Two, which the following passage comes from, discusses the various traps which can retard or prevent progress from occurring. Give it a read and see if it sounds familiar.
Why is bad governance so persistent in some environments?
One evident reason is that not everybody loses from it. The leaders of many of the poorest countries in the world are themselves among the global superrich. They like things the way they are, so it pays to keep their citizens uneducated and ill-informed. Unfortunately, many of the politicians and senior public officials in the countries of the bottom billion are villains. ~Paul Collier
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