Paul Collier’s New Empire

March 20, 2009

Although being feted by reviewers around the world, Oxford economist Paul Collier’s ideas don’t stack up, and may present a danger to the world’s poorest.

Paul Collier, “The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can be Done About It” Oxford, 2007 £16.99

Paul Collier, “War, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places” The Bodley Head, 2009, £20

Paul Collier’s “The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It” is an interesting, lucid and well-written work of political analysis. It is also one of the more dangerous books written in the past two years, and as such demands engagement from the Left.

Simply put, it argues that there exists a collection of nations with a population of around one billion people. These nations share both deep (and deepening) poverty and an inability to escape it. The past few decades have, according to Collier, seen general economic growth while these nations have stagnated. Some have even regressed, leading to recurrent coups, civil wars and bad policies. The reason why the bottom billion exists is due to a number of contingent factors – mineral resources, the country being landlocked – which have generated “traps” that now permanently ensnare such nations. Hence, some form of external intervention is necessary if the bottom billion are to enter the global market and approach prosperity.

But Collier’s work suffers from several major flaws, which should limit its relevance. However, the vast majority of reviewers have been enthusiastic. Max Hastings, for example, writing in the Times called it an “extraordinarily important book..Almost every page offers some original insight for everyone who professes to care about the Third World.” For Niall Ferguson, writing in the New York Times, Collier is “the authentic old Africa hand [who] knows the terrain and has a keen ear” while the liberal Observer newspaper opines that “Rarely can a book on this subject have been such a pleasurable read.” You have to search very hard to find a review that does not highly recommend Collier’s work. This is baffling, as the book can be questioned on all sorts of levels, yet few have taken it upon themselves to do so.

For starters, he claims to speak for one sixth of humanity – the so-called “bottom billion” of his title. Yet he never once sets out to define why this billion should extend as far as it does and no further. For him, because countries outside his subset have experienced faster growth rates and, hence, have a higher per capita income, their people are therefore disqualified from membership of the bottom billion. Even though a homeless Brazilian living in Sao Paulo has less security, and weaker social ties than a small farmer in Uganda, the small farmer is within the bottom billion, yet the Brazilian is not.

This unwillingness to chart contours of inequality across the globe, and to restrict his analytical focus only to a select group of (admittedly) extremely poor nations, blunts the efficacy of his message. Yet there is another problem of categorisation which has a similar effect. The “bottom billion” contains within it immensely diverse economies, societies and cultures. This is confirmed by Collier’s discussion of the various “traps” – as he puts it – that such nations find themselves in. He mentions in passing that countries on the coast have different prognoses than those that are landlocked. Countries that are mainly forest, have less chance of civil war than those that have large mountainous regions. Resource rich nations have different challenges to those without…

The problem is that Collier seeks to make an enormous political and economic claim about how the “international community” (another term that he does not interrogate at all) should respond to the “bottom billion” as a whole, and not in terms of individual, unique crises. After discussing the problem of civil war, and suggesting a monetary cost of such wars ($65 billion, on average), Collier suggests that the rich nations become far more muscular in dispatching military force to quell such conflicts before they rage out of control. Ditto for military coups.

To back this up, he adduces the British intervention in Sierra Leone, which brought to a close almost a decade of fighting in the West African nation. Yet he doesn’t consider what would have happened if the British had arrived as the insurgency of the RUF flourished. By the time of the intervention, the nation was exhausted, support for the RUF from Liberia was waning, as its leader Charles Taylor was forced to fight a civil war against insurgents raiding out of Guinea, and the population had no stomach for the rebellion. But at a different stage, with the government in disgrace and the rebels still fresh, intervention by the ex-colonial power would surely have had different consequences.

Collier uses Sierra Leone as a stock example of when intervention is done well, but we simply cannot know whether intervention at an earlier stage was feasible or would have been effective.

More generally, in lumping together a galaxy of states, all with individual social dynamics, Collier makes an eloquent appeal to the ex-colonial powers to resume their full supervisory role across the continent of Africa and beyond – to all of the places where governments have failed, or are prone to do at every turn.

This is extremely dangerous, particularly as the United States expands its ambitions via AFRICOM, and a struggle for fossil fuel resources looms. If accepted and normalized, Collier’s concept of the “bottom billion” coupled with the triage of regular military intervention, promises to provide a slick justification for interventions with less noble aims in sight. Crises can, of course, be manufactured (the Iraq War presenting an elegant case that Collier should pay close attention to). Moreover, given that Collier is suggesting that military intervention be used to prevent further bloodshed, if not pre-emptively, his schemes to promote security and prosperity amongst the poorest nations are at best naive.

By and large, Collier does come across as a concerned scholar, genuine in his desire to promote economic growth, security and democracy for the poorest people on earth. He has interesting things to say about corruption, and how to tackle it (and comes down hard on western banks which facilitate the “survival of the fattest” in such nations, via the flight of ill-gotten capital to their vaults). He has an engaging way of discussing coups and wars, suggesting that wars are more likely to simmer in resource rich countries, because fighting groups survive by drawing rents from extractive industries – and suggesting that aid is likely to increase coup risk, but not civil war, as military chiefs see an immediate pay off from evicting civilian governments that have just received a fat cheque from the UN.

But there are other points at which Collier simply lets himself down. For example, in his discussion of why he selected certain nations to qualify for membership of the “bottom billion,” Collier quotes GDP growth figures which show slow growth in the 1970s, slower growth in the 1980s, and no growth in the 1990s. Although he notes that some of this time period correlates with efforts at IMF-led reform, he judges that it was wasted time when such reforms were derailed by governance failures that stemmed from within the societies of the “bottom billion.”

Yet it is what Collier does not say here that is interesting. Take Kenya, for example. While Kenya broadly conforms to the stagnation model since the 1970s, during the 1960s, its economy grew at a rate of about 6 percent per year. Other African nations, such as Nigeria, experienced similar growth in the same period (before oil revenues really kicked off). But why does Collier not include such statistics? After all, it would provide some hope that the same nations that he deems “trapped” in horrendous poverty and conflict, once found ways of expanding and raising the hopes of their citizens.

The problem is that it was the wrong kind of growth. Few nations spent the 1960s and early 70s dismantling state provision of banking or agricultural support services. Few steamed headlong into liberalization of their financial markets or cut off state aid to industry to suit foreign investors. Indeed, foreign investment was not their foremost aim. Often, developing countries pursued strategies of import substitution – building up indigenous industries behind protective walls, and this strategy allowed some of them to proceed into higher income brackets. Korea springs to mind, or even China in the late 1970s and 80s.

Collier appears to have no love of “import substitution,” calling the relics of that era “parasitic” companies which eventually became “cozy domestic monopolies.” Yet that’s hardly too far from the way that Japan’s great corporations became world leaders, or Samsung in Korea or, for that matter, General Motors and Ford. The problem was that those parasites failed during the 1970s and were then pummelled by structural adjustment policies. Collier makes it clear that a return to those days is undesirable, and that manufacturing in the “bottom billion” has to be export-oriented, linked to the global market and with as little government protection as possible.

Perhaps he is correct. Certainly nurturing viable companies isn’t easy, and poorer nations would require immense technical assistance, which is fortunate, as Collier thoroughly approves of such help. Yet for him, technical assistance is more about rigorous budgeting and administration than building local industry (or developing agriculture). So he lets himself down by presenting an impoverished view of the possibilities open to countries in the “bottom billion” and by narrowing the scope of assistance to measures that are, essentially, intended only to create export-processing zones.

Indeed, while Collier is effusive in his praise for “technical assistance” in running developing nations, the phrase is more controversial than he would like to admit. As political economist Patrick Bond relates in his recent book “Looting Africa,” technical assistance can take such pro-poor forms as paying the Adam Smith Institute to consult on water privatization in Tanzania. The same campaign yielded the brilliant strategy of using British aid money to fund a pop song extolling the benefits of privatization, a scheme which eventually ended in humilitation for the British firm involved and its eviction from Tanzania in disgrace.

Collier also lets himself down badly in his frequent use of straw man type arguments to accentuate his argument. A prime example comes in his concluding remarks in which he urges that “the left needs to move on from the west’s self-flagellation and idealized notions of developing countries” and reminds us that “poverty is not romantic.” It is hard to cite serious commentators who would disagree.

“The countries of the bottom billion are not there to pioneer experiments in socialism” he chides his readers, and instead decides that those nations must “be helped along the already trodden path of building market economies” while organizations like the IMF and the World Bank are “not part of a conspiracy against poor countries…they represent beleaguered efforts to help.” The left, meanwhile “has to learn to love growth” while “aid alone will not solve the problems of the bottom billion.” Almost every sentence in that paragraph (p. 191) introduces a wholly spurious straw man that Collier knocks down and, unfortunately for him, it takes the form of an ugly rant, rather than a measured conclusion.

Maybe it was supposed to be passionate, but it comes across as embittered and bullying.

In fact, the whole book has a hollow ring about it. While claiming to be an impassioned effort to raise awareness of the plight of the “bottom billion” and to present new, more effective policies with which to assist them, it offers very little that can plausibly tackle such a task.

There is no engagement with those who argue for a deepening of participatory governance, along the lines of Porto Alegre or, perhaps, in Bolivarian Venezuela. There is also no investigation of the role that working-class solidarity can play in forcing change and securing fair growth. Collier restricts himself to calling for solidarity with anti-corruption crusaders (the “heroes” of his book) but why not trade unionists, human rights campaigners or dissident artists?

There is also, as mentioned above, a frustrating unwillingness to consider economic remedies that are not standard IMF or World Bank mandated fare. That Collier labels the pursuit of such policies as “good” and others as “bad” is doubly frustrating, and intellectually shallow. His is an overweening self-confidence, and an unpleasant accompaniment to the better parts of his work, which tend to focus on conflict resolution.

Indeed, for an economist, his writing about economics is far poorer than his writing on politics. His major economic argument – that developing countries must pursue growth at all costs, and that growth is inexorable, is being challenged by a deepening global crisis which will stymie such growth for years. The system that he wants the bottom billion to access, turns out not to be such a reliable purveyor of generalized advancement after all. Yet he doesn’t seem to have picked this up, averring in his introduction that “poverty is something that most people are managing to escape.” This may not prove to be the case over the coming decade.

Collier also fixes upon “growth” as a goal as if its definition, and implications, were not contentious. Yet there are many forms of “growth.” There is growth with equity – approximated by post-war America and Europe, and there is growth without restraints – along the lines of present day China, or nineteenth century England. There is growth with repression, or even slavery, and growth with freedom. As China vividly shows, there is growth with or without democracy, and as mentioned above, there appears to be the right, and wrong, kind of growth. To cap it all, there is green growth – a developing notion – and there is dirty growth.

Perhaps the best that we can say is, “there is growth” but Collier sees growth as a remedy for social conflicts and a foundation of emerging democracies. This is far from certain. But nowhere in the Bottom Billion is there a sign that the idea is so complicated.

Power to the people

Collier’s most recent work, entitled “War, Guns and Votes” takes as its starting point a few of the “traps” outlined in “the Bottom Billion” and applies them specifically to the problem of democracy. That is, Collier sets out to ask whether it is an appropriate aim of the “international community” to encourage democracy in the poorest nations, given that in many cases accentuating political competition via elections can result in political conflict and humanitarian catastrophe.

Finding that membership of the “bottom billion” does indeed make countries more vulnerable to coups and civil wars (although glossing over cases such as Thailand, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Colombia and Mexico), Collier suggests some interesting reasons why this might be the case – which are mostly contained within his earlier book as well, making a combined purchase far from essential. Both books contain the same message to global policy makers, more or less, which is that wretched nations require military intervention if they are to get back on their feet. The difference is slight, but interesting in itself.

War, Guns and Votes does not concern itself greatly with economics, although it does gesture towards the neo-liberal rostrums suggested by the Bottom Billion. The spine of its argument, however, is about violence, not money. Governments within the bottom billion, Collier argues, fail to supply that crucial public “good” – security. The reasons for this are numerous – geography, economics, history, size, natural resources; all of which conspire to make such nations inherently given to schism and conflict. Because of these problems, which are impossible for many nations in the “bottom billion” to overcome by themselves, the “international community” has to step in to create regional organizations which provide security and, if necessary to step in directly and supply such security themselves via humanitarian intervention. Then, following on from research carried out by Collier et al, strategic aid can be supplied that will kickstart good governance and integration into the global market.

Or so the theory goes. In reality, Collier’s most recent book is a compilation of sections from the Bottom Billion and preliminary findings from recent research. This does not necessarily make it a bad book with a bad message. Its basic message – that poor nations have trouble sustaining democracy, and that rich nations can do more to combat this, is welcome.

Yet the reasons suggested for why democracy is so hard to sustain, and the remedies suggested, are deeply flawed. Moreover, Collier makes some surprisingly lightweight remarks throughout, which diminish the seriousness with which we can take his findings.

For example, he mounts a savage (and mystifying) attack on “hunter-gatherer” societies. In seeking to prove that violence is endemic to human societies, and that a strong state is essential to supply the “public good” of security, he goes right back to the forest, portraying our ancestors as “horribly violent.”

“Hunter-gatherer societies are inherently extremely violent” he opines, “because the technology does not permit anything else: the winning strategy for a group of hunter-gatherers is the pre-emptive strike against neighbors through the pre-dawn raid, catching your enemies detached from their weapons.” Yet this is not backed up by anthropology.

As far as we know, he is utterly wrong. Pre-dawn raids have been found to be used by very few hunter-gatherer societies, with the Inupiat of north-west Alaska being a notable exception. Even they have a provision for three week trade fairs between conflicts. While anthropologists have found that plains based, horse using peoples have engaged in raiding and widespread violence, this does not hold for forest based hunter gatherers (or in fact most societies that did not harness the horse). In general, anthropologists have found that violence between hunter-gatherer peoples is extremely low – although revenge killings are commonly found. Violence happens, but it is far from “inherent” or “intrinsically” and, contrary to Collier, possession of the technology to inflict violence does not lead automatically to its employment.

Collier’s characterization of hunter-gatherers as brutes is instrumental to his wider argument and is not a mere prejudice. For him, identity formation is determined by the fear of the other, not from any human capacity to imagine solidarity with each other and the environment. His characterization of hunter-gatherers as violent thugs is crucial in allowing him to naturalize the violence through which European (and American) states were (allegedly) created. It then allows him to suggest that wholesale violence amongst African nations could be a recipe for state formation (enabling larger states to mobilize stronger senses of identity and “economies of scale” to deliver public goods). To that horriying prospect, he applies the remedy: international intervention modulated to simulate the mobilization of African societies in identity-creating wars, allowing for increased taxation, which leads onto more accountable governments, and the consolidation of small-scale post-colonial states into larger, viable nations.

So Collier employs some dubious anthropological musings to bolster his key point, which is that military intervention in poorer nations is a good thing, if it is done right, and with the intention of supporting democracy.It is certainly better than the alternatives that he postulates – civil war, genocide, deeper poverty.

He is not a rabid interventionist, neither here nor in the Bottom Billion, but he is certainly an interventionist, and one of his central goals is to relegitimize the notion of hard military power enforcing global norms.

Given that the “bottom billion” spans countries as disparate as Afghanistan, Haiti, Cameroon and the Solomon Islands, the scope of his ambition is potentially vast and, given his prominence, his ideas are likely to be taken up by commentators and, potentially, governments across the wealthy world. As discussed below, they have already been taken up by policy elites.

Whether they will wield them in the spirit that Collier intends – supporting infant democracies, helping “immature” economies to develop via integration into the free global market, is doubtful, and this is another major flaw in his work. War, Guns and Votes, fails to place the nations of the “bottom billion” in a believable global political economy. Their problems are presented as almost exclusively generated from within, yet they actually exist in a world in which powerful nations seek to influence and, indeed, control poorer nations for their own ends.

Collier has no time to discuss how the IMF or World Bank have affected the “bottom billion,” perhaps because he himself spent years at the latter institution. Because of this, he ends up arguing that the economic backwardness of poorer nations is not decisively influenced by their marginal, and exploited, position in the world of international finance and production. It has to be political. And, because Collier is not interested in examining how the U.S., ex-colonial powers, China and other external actors, interact with poorer nations, that backwardness must be endogenous.

After all, if Africa’s problems are partly explicable in terms of external influences (and indeed the continent’s position in the international capitalist economy) then the case for intervention by the highly evolved “international community” is dented. This line of thought might lead to the admission that African development is dependent upon change both within African societies and sub-regions, and within the developed economies. The retardation of African cotton production and processing by developed country subsidies is a case in point. It cannot be understood without reference to a far broader political economy.

After all, Collier’s world is a world in which the IMF, World Bank and WTO (described as an “unholy trinity” by the Cambridge economist Ha Joon Chang) are merely “beleaguered efforts to help” and do not represent the interests of the richer nations. In neither book will you find a critical analysis of how the IMF has enforced rules that have benefited western corporations, while European and American economies have been left comparatively un-reconstructed.

There is hardly any discussion of debt relief (although this is listed as essential at the end of the Bottom Billion) and how indebtedness is used to influence policies in the poorest nations. There is, of course, no discussion of how the “unholy trinity” has blocked off alternative economic policies that might have offered indigenous industrial growth, or land reforms that might have supported  thriving small-farmer populations.

This is not to argue that Africa, and other poor regions, are solely “victims” of external manipulation, or of their histories. But it is to argue that the “bottom billion” cannot be detached from the wider political economy in which they have struggled for decades.

So unless we reform the IMF, World Bank, WTO and other international institutions (not to mention the EU, USA, Cargill, Exxon…) then the call for African elites to adopt good governance, and abandon autocracy or succession by coups, is disingenuous. Under those conditions, turning the poorest nations into protectorates of the great military powers, which is what Collier prescribes in the worst cases, is a recipe for intense economic exploitation, and not rapid growth. This all the more pressing as nations queue up to buy masses of African farmland on which to cultivate biofuel crops, and oil reserves become ever more contested.

Haiti hearts sweatshops

One of Collier’s central points in both the Bottom Billion and War, Guns and Votes, is that failing states can be pointed towards “good governance” through the medium of international coercion or, failing that, intervention. Accordingly, a major aim of both books is to relegitimize regime change and “nation building” in the post-Iraq War era.

As he puts it in the conclusion to War, Guns and Votes: “There is…a powerful case for security and accountability to be regarded as basic social needs that..should be provided internationally. After the intervention in Iraq, many people might reasonably feel that the unintended consequences of security interventions are such that intervention in any form is too risky. Yet international military intervention has had many successes. The lesson is not that it is intrinsically risky, but that the circumstances that warrant it should be limited and clearly delineated.” (p.231)

Meanwhile, in the Bottom Billion, he thunders that “If Iraq is allowed to become another Somalia, with the cry of “never intervene,” (p.184) the consequences will be as bad as Rwanda” a statement which somewhat ignores the facts that the Iraq War has far exceeded Rwanda in the scale of its effects, while the U.S. intervention in Somalia during the 1990s did nothing to prevent intervention in the Balkans, or British engagement with Sierra Leone.

Yet there is no doubt that the disastrous Iraq and Afghan wars (not to mention Somalia, Lebanon and Gaza) have crashed the market for humanitarian intervention.

Given this context, both books placed together represent a formidable call to arms, and a concise, widely read (50,000 copies of the Bottom Billion have been sold according to its author) justification for deepened western manipulation of poorer nations, as such manipulation becomes ever harder to achieve.

Neoliberalism through humanitarianism is now the way forwards.

As mentioned above, the notion of “good governance” and “security” that western forces would be defending is inextricably bound up with neoliberal economics. This has been made vividly apparent by Collier’s recent posting as adjutant to ex-president Bill Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on their trip to Haiti. Both statesmen had read a “policy paper” on Haiti’s prospects supplied by Collier, and both enthusiastically approved. But what did they approve of? It wasn’t a recommendation to provide massive hurricane relief, to rebuild hospitals, schools, roads, farms. It wasn’t the suggestion that U.S. rice subsidies and export dumping (which ravaged Haitian rice production in the early 1990s) be explicitly outlawed. It wasn’t the demand for a full inquiry into U.S. involvement in the removal of Haiti’s elected president Jean Bertrand Aristide, in 2004.

According to Reuters’ Emma Batha, Collier warmly approves of the “intervention” to remove Aristide, telling her that “the hardest part – security – has already been done thanks to 9,000 U.N. peacekeepers.” Those peacekeepers have, by the way, been implicated in wholesale massacres and rapes in the poorer areas of Port-Au-Prince and are widely reviled by Haitians because of it. Nonetheless, Collier told Batha that “I would say Haiti is the only member of the bottom billion where we have trade policy that’s really going to be effective” and that “If Haiti could create 100,000 jobs in garments, that would make a huge difference to the economic security of ordinary Haitian families.”

Collier recommended that the implementation of his plan should be via international actors including the U.S., Canada, the EU and Brazil, but seemingly not Haiti’s people or politicians themselves. As current Haitian president Rene Preval put it, “I am sure that I know better than the international community what is good for Haiti. We have to listen to everybody, but Haitians have to have the leadership in identifying the strategy of the plan, and in defining the projects.”

Preval is not the only person who has been roused to anger by Collier’s “solutions” that require top-down, international (and corporate) coordination. A group of American Africa scholars were prompted to write him an open letter in January, after Collier publicly recommended that the “three giants” of rural backwardness be slain in order to feed the world. Those giants, according to the ex-World Bank research head, were “peasant agriculture, fear of scientific agriculture, and the myth of biofuels from grain.” They weren’t lack of government support for agricultural services, land reform, trade policy reform or the encouragement of alternative farming systems such as permaculture or agro-ecology.

For the Africa scholars, where Collier sees rural economies populated by unproductive “peasants,” in reality rural life across the developing world has been decimated by the forced implementation of structural adjustment and agricultural reform at the behest of the IMF and the World Bank. In fact, they note that “many sources across the African continent document that removing the government from agriculture was a systematic policy of the World Bank” and, by extension, of Collier himself.

Collier’s personal views were made clear in an interview with the Guardian newspaper in March 2009. Arguing that “Africa needs to look beyond agriculture” he told Anne Perkins that what agriculture should survive “has to be high value, not subsistence, because it has to integrate into the global market” – meaning cut flowers, haricot verts or biofuels. Meanwhile, this kind of farming “has to be done in large commercial organisations” and the surplus rural population should be sloughed off into cities which Collier sees as hyper-productive in comparison to the land. Judging that “rural living condems people to poverty” and that “relatively dispersed populations are unproductive” he believes that the poor “[have] got to be concentrated.”

There is a touch of the Khmer Rouge about such rhetoric. In terms of his core argument – that “good governance” may require military intervention to succeed – such governance seems to involve the relocation of masses of “unproductive” people from communities and jobs that have no future (like nationalized or state subsidized businesses, of course).

No wonder an intervention and stabilization could be needed. Whether he realises it or not, Collier’s humanitarian mission cannot escape the clutches of corporate profiteers. Of course he does know this, having been a senior administrator at the World Bank. There is no doubting it: for Collier, humanitarian intervention equals corporate profits.

It is less likely that he realises that his ideas represent the resurrection of centuries old imperial ideology. The saviors of the bottom billion – dispensing prosperity and democracy – will receive their dues. They will stick around to police them too.

Some readers of Collier’s work will see this very clearly, which is presumbly why some dust-jacket compliments praise it as “provocative.” But others will find confirmation of existing prejudices, and will find their desire to exert force in the service of their pre-determined ends strengthened by their reading.

This is why both “the Bottom Billion” and “War, Guns and Votes” are dangerous books. They are naive, simplistic arguments, important in as much as they are parroted by policy makers and commentators, but not world-shaking or radically new.

In as far as they focus attention on the poor, they are welcome. In as far as they buttress arguments that the poor require military intervention and neo-liberal policy remedies, they are a nightmare waiting to happen.


3 Responses to “Paul Collier’s New Empire”

  1. Watson Says:

    How do we stop this juggernaut? It owns the media and can as easily form the opinions of decent people as the propagandists of the two great world wars of the twentieth century. For most people in the rich world it is sadly axiomatic that the poor world cannot manage its own affairs and needs our help. It is a comforting thought which can effectively obscure our old colonial need to appropriate the goods and the labour of the poor to keep ourselves rich. It truly is a dull continuation of the banal hypocrisy of our Victorian forebears. Even when it sticks out like dogs’ balls that they are conniving at a criminal conspiracy against the innocent, people will contort their critical faculties to preserve a world view that keeps their self esteem and bank balances harmoniously in flower. And as regularly as the farmer feeds his cattle before morning milking, the Daily Mail will feed their psyches nourishment which will ultimately prove as toxic as the financial prestidigitations of the City’s finest.

    By the way, why is it only the “Left “who need to pull apart this man Collier’s dismal thought processes?

  2. […] you’ve read my review of Paul Collier’s two most recent books, “the Bottom Billion” and “War, […]

  3. […] an editorial today by “development expert” Paul Collier (author of the acclaimed, but not very good, “the Bottom Billion”) which focuses on how the response to Haiti’s earthquake […]

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