Christian Long

Paul Collier: The “Bottom Billion”

In TED Talks on May 10, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Reflection by RACHEL M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Paul Collier:  The “Bottom Billion”

When World War II ravaged Europe in the 1940′s, the U.S. stepped in and aided the stagnant European economies with the Marshall Plan. Since then, hardly anything has been done to aid the multitude across the world falling into the same economic quicksand.

Approximately one billion people across the globe have been floundering in stagnant economies for the past 40 years. These people are aptly named the “bottom billion” and Paul Collier is deeply involved in their strife. His goal is to provide credible hope for an end to their economic distress. But how? This goal can be accomplished with what Collier would call an alliance of compassion and enlightened self-interest. His philosophy on taking action has compassion as the igniting force, but enlightened self-interest as the grounds for getting down to business. First we must care about others, but to get to the heart of things we must understand the importance of being compelled by our own needs.

So how does the U.S. become serious?

Collier believes to be truly serious about helping the bottom billion it is necessary for the U.S. to undertake a total reversal of trade and security, which is no doubt a big move. But, he also believes that this in the long run can benefit countrys’ failing economies and likewise improve the global economy for the greater good. Essentially: The world needs to re-think what we’ve been doing for the better. Go figure.

I can hardly do this Paul Collier’s wonderful insights justice. Economics is hardly my area of expertise, so if you wish to hear a more thorough explanation of Collier’s plan, I would highly recommend watching the video. It is very insightful in regards to the world’s economic status and the economic reality of small countries. Although I can’t say much, Collier provides an interesting view into the future of suffering countries that could be lifted from the ashes with one large act of compassion.


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