Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Problems facing the bottom billion

So  life's pretty miserable in the Western world right now and the UK Chancellor's Autumn Statement is depressing, along with the markets and the news in general. I've spoken with four business leaders today, all separately, and all very scared about the next two months and beyond. But, still, our problems pale...

Part of my 'light reading' is a book, The Bottom Billion, from my old university professor Paul Collier. He talks about the systemic and structural problems for one seventh of the world's population, problems that mean they have almost no choices and almost no hope of escape. He shows how hard it is to break the cycle of destruction for countries that are locked in conflict, or with natural resources plundered, or landlocked with 'bad neighbors' or with poor government with few checks and balances.

It's hard work getting through the depressive, if accurate, analysis: I'm hoping for some more encouragement in the final chapter that promises 'An Agenda for Action!'

Perhaps, though, the key is to start small and to do what we can with what we've got, and to become less self-absorbed in the process :)
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