Bottom Billion

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Bradley Kazmierczyk
3/14/13
GEOG 104-007

Paper on The Bottom Billion

In this detailed and well thought out book, Paul Collier a professor at Oxford University focuses on a group that he calls the “bottom billion”. Through a great deal of research he describes the bottom billion as countries that have not experienced significant economic progress. According to Collier these countries have failed to adhere to the developing world in the twenty-first century because of the income gap between them and the rest of the developing world. He explains that the countries in the bottom billion are caught in four distinct traps that are leading them to fall behind and fall apart. Collier not only analyzes these traps but also expresses and explains cures or actions that can be taken to ensure progress for the bottom billion.

The four distinct traps that the bottom billion faces are hurting them in many ways. These traps consist of; the conflict trap, the natural resource trap, landlocked with bad neighbors and bad governance in a small country. The conflict trap is caused by civil wars in these countries. Collier explains that once a civil war as taken place, that country is more likely to have another. On the other hand the natural resource trap shows how the misuse of a found natural resource may cause failure to grow causing stagnation in that country. The landlocked trap shows how countries must export and import from neighboring countries to expand, but with resource-scarce landlocked countries this is nearly impossible. The last but most important trap to be recognized is the bad governance in a small country. With this being a problem there is no room for growth.

Although these traps that the bottom billion faces hurts and diminishes them, there are plans and actions that can be taken to help them overcome these terrible misfortunes. Collier breaks down four cures that can help these struggling countries to break free from their traps. He explains the...
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