Saturday, October 10, 2009

Philanthrocapitalism and the Bottom Billion- Part 3


Collier goes on to state that “Ethnic minorities are just as likely to rebel with or without discrimination" and that two Stanford scientists who conducted research on 200 ethnic minorities also found that the same is the case of inter group hatreds (20). This statement rests on the assumption that the previous one which finds no relation between political repression and civil war, is true. In this train of thought, if civil war was not incited by political repression, then it was not necessarily affected by discrimination either. There is a connection between civil war and discrimination which is missed however, because of the disassociation between political repression and discrimination. Typically and most recently, ethnic discrimination is viewed as a social issue, despite the fact that it was historically a politically based as well. The political component of society- the government- is then involved in either promoting or denouncing discrimination; the former choice is effectively a form of political repression. Civil war or regional conflict is inevitable after prolonged ethnic discrimination and political repression.

In the discussion of rebel recruitment, Collier names professor Weinstein of Stanford University whose findings indicate that rebel leaders find themselves in a position where they must choose between two types of recruits. There are those who are driven by a mission to actually bring out (perceived) social justice versus psychopaths on a path of destruction. According to Collier, an alarming 3% of the general population in any society are estimated to have psychopathic tendencies. Presumably, a large portion of the 3% is lining up to be recruited in the bottom billion countries during the seemingly never-ending cycles of civil war. These facts lead one to infer that the conflict trap creates its own web of institutional entrapment. For example, the psychopathic 3% of the population hoping to be recruited could otherwise seek medical care, rather than suffer the deterioration of their disease; but the conflict-bound region in which they live does not allow for hospitals to qualitatively serve the community. The portion of the remaining 97% that is in line is easily attracted by rebel theories likely due to the lack of employment and other positive social reinforcements in the community which stem from the inability to attract business owners and developers to a conflicted region.

After analyzing the conflict trap, the natural resource trap, the land lock trap and the governance trap, Collier asserts that the bottom billion have missed the boat of opportunity that was brought by the current wave of globalization. Unfortunately, he also surmises that the bottom billion will have to wait until the next wave in order to ride it and reap the benefits. Collier estimates that this wave will hit the shores of the bottom billion when the gap between Asia and the bottom billion is wide enough to attract business to the latter. Though no one can guess just how long this will take, instead of waiting for this next wave, the book might explore whether it is possible to induce the next wave faster so that the bottom billion may begin to catch up. The process could begin with the extensive review of the unsuccessful tools used previously in philanthropy combined with heightened awareness of the bottom billion, hopefully leading to a focused and united transition to philanthrocapitalism. The two books connect in this way; Collier identifies the bottom billion and why are they are who they are, and Bishop & Green discuss the people and methods capable of making a huge impact on uplifting the billion.

More on Mathew Bishop, Michael Green and Philanthrocapitalism
Paul Collier


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