Summer reading: The Bottom Billion

I just finished another great book that recently came out in paperback: The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It, by Paul Collier.

A little over ten years ago I was arrested for protesting the World Bank, IMF, and general villains of globalization. I don’t regret my youthful passion, but since then I’ve done a lot more reading about economics and have realized that development is much more complicated than “fair trade vs. free trade” slogans. Paul Krugman’s writings on trade have helped.

The Bottom Billion is very well-written and clear, though not always easy since some of the concepts are counter-intuitive and it does have some jargon. But the writer is careful to explain what research his positions are based on, when that research has yet to be peer-reviewed, etc. He is trying to find pragmatic solutions to seemingly intractable problems of global and primarily African poverty, without falling into left or right ideology.

If you have any interest in macroeconomics, international trade, global poverty, Africa, development . . . I highly recommend this book.

What are you all reading this summer? I could use some lighter fare for my July vacation. . . .