The Plundered Planet : How to Reconcile Prosperity With Nature, Paperback

The Plundered Planet : How to Reconcile Prosperity With Nature Paperback

3 out of 5 (1 rating)


In "The Plundered Planet: How to Reconcile Prosperity with Nature" Paul Collier proposes a radical and often counter-intuitive rethink of international policy in order to combat global poverty and environmental devastation.

How can we help poorer countries become richer without harming the planet?

Is there a way of reconciling prosperity with nature?

World-renowned economist Paul Collier offers smart, surprising and above all realistic answers to this dilemma.

Steering a path between the desires of unchecked profiteering and the romantic views of environmentalists, he explores creative ways to deal with poverty, overpopulation and climate change - showing that the solutions needn't cost the earth. "A practical handbook for ending world poverty. He wants us to read the evidence, not wear slogans on our T-shirts". ("Sunday Times"). "Collier and his team have researched the detail...If you want to help the world, stem your bleeding heart and tell your broker to switch your funds to Emerging Markets (Africa)". ("Sunday Telegraph"). "An intriguing take on how western nations can stop poor countries rich in resources from being exploited". ("Observer"). "Anyone looking for a primer on how best to exploit the riches of nature could do worse than reading this introduction to the problem". ("Economist"). "Paul Collier must be read if one is to begin to understand the most vital contemporary arguments". (Bob Geldof). Paul Collier is Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University and a former director of Development Research at the World Bank.

In addition to the award-winning "The Bottom Billion", he is the author of "Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places".


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Environmental economics
  • ISBN: 9780141042145



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No footnotes and references only to the author's own writings! A popular account of his opinions, dosed with green and resting on his dicey concept of the 'bottom billion'. A thought-provoking but not a thoughtful book. An easy rapid read that leaves you wondering where you missed the insight into “how to solve the world’s problems”. This economist wants to cut carbon emissions and to stop burning coal but he is not otherwise concerned about ecosystem exploitation and the loss of biodiversity. These externalities associated with the plunder of natural resources are not even considered. There are fine arguments about how resource –rich, low-income countries should control the geological survey, auction off the right to mine and determine the most prudent use of revenues from non-renewable resources. But then poor governance gets in the way. So what is needed is a natural resource charter and transparency where extractive industry companies and countries reveal all the money flows. All this is well underway. Only add on large scale agriculture, GM technology and a ban on biofuel from maize and that pretty much solves it all. Collier refers approvingly to Fairfield Osborn, the long time head of the New York Zoo and earlier a Wall Street executive with mining and oil links. Osborn wrote a book in 1948 called “Our Plundered Planet” which “sought to awaken ordinary citizens to the unsustainable exploitation of nature”. Osborn worried about the waste and destruction of forests, watershed and animals (as well as minerals) but, unlike the unfortunate Prince Charles, he somehow escapes Collier’s censure as a “romantic environmentalist”. Osborn’s solution to the world’s problems in what Collier describes as a “founding text of modern environmentalism” was birth control. No comment made on this!

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