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aid_collier-1 - The Bottom Billion - Paul Collier - Books -...

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THE BOTTOM BILLION Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It. By Paul Collier. 205 pp. Oxford University Press. $28. July 1, 2007 The Least Among Us By NIALL FERGUSON It is perhaps a sign of how far sub-Saharan Africa still has to go that the most vigorous — and certainly the best publicized — debate about its economic future in recent years has been between two American economists based in New York. On one side of the argument is Jeffrey D. Sachs, the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and the author of “The End of Poverty.” On the other is William Easterly of New York University , whose ironically titled “White Man’s Burden” lampoons Sachs as a modern version of a 19th-century utopian. There is indeed something faintly Victorian about Sachs’s messianic yet parsimonious conviction that Africa can be saved with $75 billion a year in Western aid. Having spent so much of his energies in the 1990s extolling the virtues of the free market to any Eastern European government that would listen, Sachs now argues — with equally unshakable conviction — that the elimination of African poverty can be achieved through state planning. All governments need do is improve agricultural technology, provide antimalaria bed nets, treat diseases like hookworm and distribute antiretroviral treatments to the H.I.V. -infected. At times, he is rather reminiscent of Dickens’s Mrs. Jellyby in “Bleak House,” “a lady of very remarkable strength of character, who . .. has devoted herself to an extensive variety of public subjects, at various times, and is at present (until something else attracts her) devoted to the subject of Africa; with a view to the general cultivation of the coffee berry — and the natives.” In Easterly’s opinion, the present generation of white philanthropists is no more likely than earlier ones to succeed in a self-appointed (and at times unwittingly imperial) mission of enlightening the Dark Continent. Page 1 of 5 The Bottom Billion - Paul Collier - Books - Review - New York Times 2/28/2011 ..
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Now comes another white man, ready to shoulder the burden of saving Africa: Paul Collier, the director of the Center for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University . A former World Bank economist like Easterly, Collier shares his onetime colleague’s aversion to what he calls the “headless heart” syndrome — meaning the tendency of people in rich countries to approach Africa’s problems with more emotion than empirical evidence. It was Collier who pointed out that nearly two-fifths of Africa’s private wealth is held abroad, much of it in Swiss bank accounts. It was he who exposed the British charity Christian Aid for commissioning dubious Marxist research on free trade. And it was he who pioneered a new and unsentimental approach to the study of civil wars, demonstrating that most rebels in
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This note was uploaded on 07/14/2011 for the course ECON 410 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at Kentucky.

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aid_collier-1 - The Bottom Billion - Paul Collier - Books -...

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