One of a series of 13 briefs exploring the strengths and weaknesses of
the policies advocated in Paul Collier's controversial and influential
book 'The Bottom Billion'.
The Commission for Africa and the Gleneagles summit thrust development
into the political spotlight and the public consciousness. These events
and others in 2005 inspired authors to write their versions of why some
countries are not growing and what the rich countries should be doing to
help them. Paul Collier's The Bottom Billion is the latest of these
development narratives and it has great strengths – moving beyond aid,
clarity in setting priorities for the poorest countries, realpolitik
considerations – and some deep flaws – the assumption that traps are
automatically overcome in an economy with a growing GDP, an
over-reliance on cross-country regressions, and a failure to reach
beyond economics. But comparing such narratives reveals their
near-universal Western-centric positions. The challenge now is for new
metanarratives to emerge.
IDS In Focus Issue 3.13, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK, 4 pp.
Development Narratives: Recent Trends and Future Needs