Paul Collier is an economist and author with a big, compelling and realisable idea. We in the developed world need to step up to lift the so-called ‘bottom billion’ out of poverty and desperation. The costs of not doing this are potentially so high they will threaten global stability within a generation. And not just economic stability either.

Yet the cost of implementing this idea is practically nil. The fact is that many of the countries in the bottom billion should be enjoying unprecedented prosperity booms as a result of the worldwide spike in commodity prices. Collier’s research shows that after 5 years of initial good times most countries drop dramatically in economic well-being for some very clear reasons. There seems to be a level of economic governance below which economies and subsequently societies fail. This level is connected to the system of checks and balances that dictates how governments translate their electoral success into economic success, particularly with relation to resource extraction and exploitation.

Put simply - governments should tell their citizens how much money they earn.

Sounds straightforward doesn’t it?

Well in fact it is; except for one thing. It’s no good having transparency and an internationally mediated system of checks and balances if the electorate doesn’t know what to ask for or what’s going on.

To that end Paul Collier’s rallying cry is... we can help.

Paul Collier will be at TEDx Brussels on December 6th

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