The Bottom Billion - Essay Example

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The Bottom Billion
The people who are described in bottom billion are those whose lives are getting worse with every passing day. Globalization in the 1990s had lifted poverty out of millions in India and China but the income of these people had actually fallen by 5 per cent. …
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Download file to see previous pages Collier writes that ‘the countries at the bottom coexist with the 21st century, but their reality is the 14th century: civil war, plague, ignorance’. Collier has studied for decades about the countries, their struggles and their efforts to escape poverty. He wrote the book with a compilation of a lifetime’s findings and technical research. The book focuses on the billions of people who are facing problems because of the never ending poverty (Quinn 1).
In this book, Collier has based his research on the hard-headed analysis of the cost-benefits rather than emotional aspects or post colonial guilt. He has talked with facts and the calculations for instance the cost of the badly governed diminishing state and its neighbours is the loss of the economic growth of about $100bn. In this situation, it seems like a bargain to spend a few million dollars on skilled administrators for government support, infrastructure projects and sending troops to put down rebellions.
Collier’s findings have overturned the persistent myths about the failure that Africa is facing for decades. He finds that the history of failure and civil wars is not because of the poor politicians or restless populace, but because of poverty. So he states that all countries that are poor and low income face about 14 per cent chances of entering in a civil war during a five year period. Collier writes that the young men who are recruited by the rebel armies are cheap in an environment of immense poverty. Hence, joining the rebel movements give these young men a minor chance of riches (Collier 57). The four poverty traps described in the book includes conflict as the first. Conflict is a trap which cannot be escaped without the help of global aid and support. Other three traps are landlocked with bad or poor neighbours, natural resources abundant and bad governance. Example is that of Switzerland which is landlocked but its neighbours Germany and Italy have giant markets and they are able to sell their goods to rich consumers, whereas Uganda is landlocked but it has neighbours such as Sudan and Somalia that are failed states. Abundant natural resources mean economic boon but in poor countries, these resources mean encouragement for corrupt politicians to snatch power and make economies vulnerable whether it is the oil discovery, copper or diamonds (Saucier 2). Bad governance is a trap which can be seen in Africa and because of which Africa has become disreputable. Countries that are not landlocked and are on the coast can be lucky with the large workforce and for them governance wouldn’t matter much. If the state doesn’t come in the way, growth from exports can take off. However, for countries that are landlocked, the economy is dependent on air-flows or on the revenues from natural resources hence governance is critical. In such countries if bad governance is present, the country can continue to fail. Collier has given the example of Chad where the cash that has to be spent on government healthcare sector, is disappeared even before it reaches the hospitals. This book overall addresses the poorest billion people in the world, most of who are in Africa. Collier has analyzed about 58 countries in this world that harbour the poorest people. The four traps are what cause the poverty to increase and the nations to fail. These traps cause the divergence of these countries from the rest of the world. These countries are failing since ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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