Wars, Guns, and Votes, Paul Collier investigates the violence and poverty in the small, remote countries at the lowest level of the world economy. An esteemed economist and a foremost authority on developing countries, Collier argues that the spread of elections and peace settlements in the world's most dangerous countries may lead to a brave new democratic world. In the meantime, though, nasty and long civil wars, military coups, and failing economies are the order of the day--for now and into the foreseeable future.
Through innovative research and astute analysis, Collier gives an eye-opening assessment of the ethnic divisions and insecurites in the developing countries of Africa, Latin America, and Asia, where corruption is often firmly rooted in the body politic. There have been many policy failures by the United States and other developed countries since the end of the Cold War, especially the reliance on preemptive military intervention. But Collier insists that these problems can and will be rectified. He persuasively outlines what must be done to bring peace and stability: the international community must intervene through aid, democracy building, and a very limited amount of force.
Groundbreaking and provocative, Wars, Guns, and Votes is a passionate and convincing argument for the peaceful development of the most volatile places on earth.
In this accessible and very sensible analysis, Collier (The Bottom Billion) argues that the spread of democracy after the end of the Cold War has not actually made the world a safer place, as the West has promoted the wrong features of democracy: the fa�ade rather than the essential infrastructure. The author hypothesizes that an insistence on elections without a system of checks and balances has led to widespread corruption, nations mired in ethnic politics and economic underperformance. Collier examines the effect of civil wars, coups and rebellions on burgeoning democracies, founding all arguments on methodology and data sets that provide a hard, quantitative view of political violence. While many of his observations are insightful and occasionally prescient, his analysis weakens when it strays from the data and enters more theoretical territory. However, the author maintains an approachable style and reaches beyond jargon to provide a highly readable account of the complex realities facing the developing world. Collier's suggestions are pragmatic, and although they may incense ideologues, most readers will connect with this common sense approach matched with obvious expertise. (Feb.)
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February 02, 2009
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