Summary of The Bottom Billion

Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It

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The Bottom Billion book summary
What issues are responsible for the worsening poverty of some 58 failing countries with the world’s poorest people?


9 Overall

6 Applicability

9 Innovation

9 Style


getAbstract finds that this concise, clearly written and hard-hitting book by Paul Collier, one of the world’s leading experts on Africa, is a must-read for anyone concerned with development, economic justice, trade, immigration, terrorism and related issues. The author has scant patience with sacred cows of either the right or the left. He penetrates the fictions and fantasies that have helped drive not only unproductive but actually counterproductive policies on aid, trade, investment and more. The book is enlightening, and entertaining in the way that good satire is entertaining. It is also inspiring, since Collier goes beyond merely identifying problems: He offers credible suggestions for solutions.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What four traps lock the poorest countries in poverty;
  • What the international community should and should not do to help free them from those traps; and
  • Why helping the bottom billion is in the self-interest of developed and developing countries.


The Poorest
The world’s poorest countries, a group of 58 nations with roughly a billion people, have some distinctive things in common. While the rest of the world has been getting richer, they have been getting poorer. Their decline is absolute, not merely relative. Some, such as the ...
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About the Author

Paul Collier is professor of Economics and director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University. Formerly director of development research at the World Bank, he also wrote Breaking the Conflict Trap.

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