The Bottom Billion By Paul Collier

THE BOTTOM BILLION: WHY THE POOREST COUNTRIES ARE FAILING AND WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT
By Paul Collier
Oxford University Press, 224 pp., $15, August 2008, 9780195373387

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Ask any ‘third worlder’—including me—and chances are, he/she will tell you how dirty and poor his/her country is, and how it is likely to remain that way in the foreseeable future. Why are some nations poor? Why these nations stay dirty and undeveloped despite our globalized reality? And why are they likely to stay poor, unless something is done? And, if we want to do something, what should we do about it? This post is about all of these questions—a summary and a review written while reading Paul Collier’s Book: The Bottom Billion.

Trapped

Paul Collier developed a notion he named the “conflict trap”. His aim is to show how some economic conditions prompt civil war, and how the resulting conflict often becomes a trap—one that is hard to escape.
Four different traps are behind the horrible situation people are living within the bottom billion:

  1. The Conflict Trap
  2. The Natural Resources Trap
  3. The Trap of Being Landlocked
  4. The Trap of Bad Governance in a Small Country

Globalization to the Rescue?

Even during the golden decade—between the end of the cold war and 9/11—these countries still suffered, and captured nothing of what the rest of the world has been going through. In fact, income during this same decade fell by 5%.

That’s why the later countries escape the traps, and begin to take the right track, the harder it is for them to catch up, because the global market is now much more tough for new participants than it was in the 1980s.

The Struggle for the Bottom Billion

The author isn’t trying to offer a one and only explanation for the failures of certain nations to catch up with the Global development train—of beginning to reduce poverty for the first time in history since the 1980s. He acknowledges the diversity of the situation within the bottom billion.

The left could learn that maybe some instruments they’d been avoiding to use—like military interventions—are sometimes effective, or even the only viable option to improve or change the situation.
And, the right can learn that “global growth” doesn’t always bring relief to the Bottom Billion.

The problem matters. And it matters even more to voters and decision makers in the developed world. Because, if they keep ignoring what’s happening within the Bottom Billion, soon enough, the ramifications will land themselves clear in the west—think mass immigration, terrorism, etc..

Paul Collier intended this book to be an enjoyable read through keeping “clear of footnotes and the rest of the usual grim apparatus of professional scholarship,” as he declared from the start.

Nor that this book is a chewing gum for the mind—if you have an attention for details, then all you have to do is to take a look at the book’s ending section and you will find what amuses your tastes and your erudite cravings.

Paul Collier

Paul Collier is a professor at Oxford. He had directed the World Bank’s research department. He’d also taught at Harvard.

Paul Collier’s previous books include Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places, and Greed is Dead: Politics after Individualism.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you can support my work by buying me a book (one time donation) or by becoming a patron.

 
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You Need To Start Stretching Now: Here Are The Benefits


But, if they do not stretch, with the passing of time, their bodies will become clumsier, more painful, incapable, etc. It is of no use to look at oneself in the mirror and not stop asking the reasons why, one needs to exercise or stretch, until one feels “in shape” again . This feeling of being in good shape is so imperceptible that one only becomes aware of it once it has been lost. Therefore, the smart thing to do is to not abandon it.


Stretching Exercises Encyclopedia, (2012, 1st edition).

Start Stretching Now!

You need to start stretching now. Preferably, on a daily basis—if you can. Forgetting about stretching is a common mistake we all commit. Perhaps, we build up the mileage or load up the bar. We feel that we are thriving until injuries, stiffness and fatigue knock our door.

During his career as an ultramarathoner and a navy seal, David Goggins experienced many injuries followed by many surgeries. I’ve heard him talk about stretching and how it changed–not only his athletic performance and how he feels on a daily basis–his entire life. In his memoir, You Can’t Hurt Me, David says:

Thanks to all that stretching, I’m in better shape at forty-three than I was in my twenties. Back then I was always sick, wound tight, and stressed out. I never analyzed why I kept getting stress fractures. I just taped that shit up. No matter what ailed my body or my mind I had the same solution. Tape it up and move the fuck on. Now I’m smarter than I’ve ever been. And I’m still getting after it.

David Goggins, You Can’t Hurt Me.

Stretching Enhances Your Overall Flexibility and Range of Motion

According to (10.1080/07303084.2008.10598237), ” Stretching has been shown to improve flexibility, which was previously believed to improve performance and reduce the risk of injury .” Although, the same article reminds us that other research ( 10.1080/07303084.1999.10605682 ) “have suggested that stretching may decrease muscle strength, which would compromise performance.”


Courtesy of Timo Volz, Pexels

However, a study by Herman, SL and Smith, Dt, published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research ( 10.1519/jsc.0b013e318173da50 ), in which they “incorporated a 4-week” dynamic stretching warmup (DWU) into the training program of a group of collegiate wrestlers and see how it affected their overall performance. They found out that the 4-week DWU intervention they incorporated, made positive improvements “in the majority of performance measures that assessed power,speed, agility, endurance, flexibility, and strength”. And according to the same study, “Sport-specific stretching exercises should be introduced into a warm-up immediately following the 2 to 3 minutes of light activity.”

Stretching Can Prevent Injury

There are four types of stretching techniques. Static, Dynamic, Ballistic, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation(PNF). Each has its pros and cons. And while the static option–holding a muscle in a fixed position for an extended period of time, after moving it past a certain range of motion and oftentimes anything past that point in ROM involves pain and we all experience it–is the most popular option, it is not always the most effective technique for injury prevention.

Stretching Can Relieve Pain

If you experience chronic pain, and you go visit your doctor, chances are beside drugs and scanning, he will advise you to join a yoga class. And what is yoga but a form of stretching!

” Stretching increases the flexibility of the tissues being stretched. It helps to loosen the tension in your muscles, de-stresses them, and thus helps you manage your mental stress as well, ” says Amy Stein author of Heal Pelvic Pain.

Don’t take it too far

“There are, however, reasons to be cautious about stretching to the limits of pain because of the risk of causing damage ” says Muanjai et al. ( 10.1007/s00421-017-3608-y) and so while stretching regularly may improve flexibility and increase your range of motion, don’t take it too far. The same study suggest that static stretching for a long period of time may even cause inflammation and loss of strength. So be careful and use it wisely.

Warmup for 10-15 minutes. Then, begin the stretching process immediately. Breathe in a slow rhythm that you are able to control. Do not bounce or move in a silly way lest you get yourself injured. The stretch should be gentle. You should reach a kind of pain sweet spot that you can maintain so that it is neither too easy and thus provide no stimuli nor too hard and therefore lead to injury. “The body, and in particular the body part being stretched, must not be under excessive tension, which explains why some athletes injure themselves after practicing their sport when they conclude their training with rough stretches, ” says Oscar Moran (author of this stretching encyclopedia), and hence preferably, stretch before the exercise not after it.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you can support my work by buying me a book (one time donation) or by becoming a patron.

 
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