Synopses & Reviews
In the universally acclaimed and award-winning The Bottom Billion, Paul Collier reveals that fifty failed states--home to the poorest one billion people on Earth--pose the central challenge of the developing world in the twenty-first century. The book shines 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 nations between reformers and corrupt leaders--and the corrupt are winning. Collier analyzes the causes of failure, pointing to a set of traps that ensnare these countries, including civil war, a dependence on the extraction and export of natural resources, and bad governance. Standard solutions do not work, 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, new international charters, and even conduct carefully calibrated military interventions. 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.
Set to become a classic. Crammed with statistical nuggets and common sense, his book should be compulsory reading.
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.... 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, The New York Times Book Review
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.
Not so long ago, Africa was being described as the ‘Hopeless Continent. Recently, though, talk has turned to ‘Africa Rising, with enthusiastic voices exclaiming the potential for economic growth across many of its countries. What, then, is the truth behind Africas growth, or lack of it?
In Is Africa Rising?, Morten Jerven fundamentally reframes the debate, challenging mainstream accounts of African economic history. Whilst for the past two decades experts have focused on explaining why there has been a ‘chronic failure of growth in Africa, Jerven shows that most African economies have been growing at a rapid pace since the mid-90s. In addition, African economies grew rapidly in the 50s, the 1960s, and even into the 1970s. Thus, African states were dismissed as incapable of development based largely on observations made during the 1980s and early 1990s. The result has been misguided analysis, and few practical lessons learned.
An essential account of the real impact economic growth has had on Africa, and what it means for the continents future.
For the first time in generations, Africa is spoken of these days with enthusiastic hope: no longer seen as a hopeless morass of poverty, the continent instead is described as Africa Rising,” a land of enormous economic potential that is just beginning to be tapped.
With Africa: Why Economists Get It Wrong, Morten Jerven offers a bracing corrective. Neither story, he shows, is accurate. In truth, most African economies have been growing rapidly since the 1990sand, until a collapse in the 70s and 80s, they had been growing reliably for decades. Puncturing weak analysis that relies too much on those two lost decades, Jerven redraws our picture of Africas past, present, and potential.
About the Author
Morten Jerven teaches at the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. He is the author of Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about It.
Table of Contents
1. Misunderstanding economic growth in Africa
2. Trapped in history?
3. African growth recurring
4. Africa's statistical tragedy?