Paul Collier Quotes
“And so a miserable but possible scenario is that countries in the bottom billion oscillate between the traps and limbo, perhaps switching in the process from one trap to another..
Let me be clear: we cannot rescue them. The societies of the bottom billion can only be rescued from within. In every society of the bottom billion there are people working for change, but usually they are defeated by the powerful internal forces stacked against them. We should be helping the heroes. So far, our efforts have been paltry: through inertia, ignorance, and incompetence, we have stood by and watched them lose.
Let me be clear: we cannot rescue them. These societies of the bottom billion can only be rescued from within.”
“The transformation of power into authority is essential for building reciprocity across huge groups of people, such as everyone accepting the obligation to pay their taxes. Leaders are not engineers of human souls, but they can harness our emotions. The dangerous leaders are those who rely only on enforcement. The valuable ones are those who use their position as communicator-in-chief at the hub of their networked group – they achieve influence through crafting narratives and actions. All leaders add and refine the narratives that fit within the belief system of their group, but great leaders build an entire belief system.28”
“Governments could recognize the huge value added if the two biological parents choose to live together with the child: a tax-credit bonus could reduce the tax burden for those who are taxpayers, and income could be supplemented by an equivalent amount for those who are not. The commitment of young parents to their children benefits us all, and we should be prepared to pay for it. When parents withhold this commitment, the rest of us pay for it – heavily.”
“As an economist, I have learned that decentralized, market-based competition – the vital core of capitalism – is the only way to deliver prosperity, but what are the founts of the other aspects of well-being? Whereas economic man is presumed to be lazy, purposive action such as work is important for esteem.”
“Suppose a country starts its independence with the three economic characteristics that globally make a country prone to civil war: low income, slow growth, and dependence upon primary commodity exports. It is playing Russian roulette. That is not just an idle metaphor: the risk that a country in the bottom billion falls into civil war in any five-year period is nearly one in six, the same risk facing a player of Russian roulette.”
- Description: Paul Collier, CBE is a Professor of Economics, Director for the Centre for the Study of African Economies at the University of Oxford and Fellow of St Antony's College. He is the author of The Plundered Planet; Wars, Guns, and Votes; and The Bottom Billion, winner of Estoril Distinguished Book Prize, the Arthur Ross Book Award, and the Lionel Gelber Prize.