“Collier has made a substantial contribution to current discussions. His evidence-based approach is a worthwhile corrective to the assumptions about democracy that too often tend to dominate when Western policy makers talk about the bottom billion.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Before President Obama makes a move he would do well to read Professor Paul Collier’s Wars, Guns, and Votes. . . Unlike many academics Collier comes up with very concrete proposals and some ingenious solutions.” — The Times (London)
In Wars, Guns, and Votes, esteemed author Paul Collier offers a groundbreaking, radical look at the world’s most violent, corrupt societies, how they got that way, and what can be done to break the cycle. George Soros calls Paul Collier “one of the most original minds in the world today,” and Wars, Guns, and Votes, like Collier’s previous award-winning book The Bottom Billion, is essential reading for anyone interested in current events, war, poverty, economics, or international business.
In this accessible and very sensible analysis, Collier (The Bottom Billion) argues that the spread of democracy after the end of the Cold War has not actually made the world a safer place, as the West has promoted the wrong features of democracy: the fa ade rather than the essential infrastructure. The author hypothesizes that an insistence on elections without a system of checks and balances has led to widespread corruption, nations mired in ethnic politics and economic underperformance. Collier examines the effect of civil wars, coups and rebellions on burgeoning democracies, founding all arguments on methodology and data sets that provide a hard, quantitative view of political violence. While many of his observations are insightful and occasionally prescient, his analysis weakens when it strays from the data and enters more theoretical territory. However, the author maintains an approachable style and reaches beyond jargon to provide a highly readable account of the complex realities facing the developing world. Collier's suggestions are pragmatic, and although they may incense ideologues, most readers will connect with this common sense approach matched with obvious expertise.