The Traps Facing the Bottom Billion

The facing the bottom billion is an interesting view on the world economy. The first trap, conflict, is something that we as Americans easily overlook. Why? Because, when we are at war we are almost completely un-impacted by it. During World War II, the entire nation was tied together for the war effort. Food was rationed along with many other goods, and most able bodied men were overseas fighting. Now however, we are almost unaware that out troops are overseas. Sure we see some of what’s happening on the nightly news, or we hear about it in the newspaper, but it is never a major concern. This is not the case however, for the countries that make up the majority of the bottom billion. Their wars are going on in there backyard. They are effected in everything they do. Imagine having to worry about being in the middle of a war just trying to get to work, or get your kids to school, if you’re lucky enough to have a place to work or a school system for your kids.

Natural resources is another “trap” that we as Americans overlook. This is because we are surrounded by an abundance of natural resources that we take for granted. Farming is an example that comes readily to mind. Just taking the jobs into consideration that farming creates shows what a major effect one natural resource can have on the economy. First, there is the farmer, and with the size of modern day farms, most farmers will have full time help. Next the crops have to be taken to market, and for this we need truck drivers. The truck drivers take the raw product somewhere to either be packaged or be made into something to be used by the public. In order for this to take place there needs to be somebody at these locations to do this. Then the product needs to be loaded back onto trucks and taken to stores to be sold, and the process continues until the food is on our tables. All of these steps have a significant effect on our economy. This is just one example of the many natural resources America has to offer. Now think of all of the paying jobs that these resources create, now take all of them out of the picture and imagine the hit our economy would take.

I won’t spend a lot of time talking about landlocked countries partly because I don’t think that’s the best way to word it, and also because there is simply not a lot to be said about it. It has more to do with relations of bordering countries. Obviously this would not be a factor if all countries had access to exporting outlets on the water, but this is not the case.  Relations with bordering countries are extremely import for ease of export. Like Paul Collier mentioned there are ways around dealing with bordering countries such as flying exports out of the country. But this is simply just not as convenient, whether it be cost or quantity it creates more obstacles that cost money and reduce profit, crippling the economy.

Governance is the final trap which is an obvious one in my opinion, and most of it is covered by Collier in his description. Basically without government there is no structure, and there is no foundation on which to build a functioning economy.

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