The Plundered Planet

The Plundered Planet, by Paul Collier   $16.47

How can poor countries escape the cycle of environmental degradation and poverty? Collier (The Bottom Billion) argues that technological innovation, environmental protection, and regulation are key to ensuring equitable development. Environmentalists and economists must work together so resources can be responsibly harnessed; if diamonds have sustained Sierra Leone’s bloody feuds, Botswana’s diamond industry has given it the world’s fastest growing economy. Collier explores where and how corruption insinuates itself during the discovery and resource extraction processes, how taxation and royalty on extraction may redistribute wealth to society, how to reinvest this wealth for the future, and how to use renewable resources sustainably. Despite the narrow treatment of nature as commodity and some questionable contentions that organic farming is antiquated, and that factory farming and genetically modified crops are the only way to alleviate hunger—claims easily challenged by more seasoned agronomists—Collier’s arguments are compassionate and convincing, and his straightforward explanations of economic principles are leavened with humor and impressively accessible.

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