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The Plundered Planet: Why We Must--and How…

The Plundered Planet: Why We Must--and How We Can--Manage Nature for…

by Paul Collier

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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! ( )
  mnicol | Jan 21, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0195395255, Hardcover)

Paul Collier's The Bottom Billion was greeted as groundbreaking when it appeared in 2007, winning the Estoril Distinguished Book Prize, the Arthur Ross Book Award, and the Lionel Gelber Prize. Now, in The Plundered Planet, Collier builds upon his renowned work on developing countries and the world's poorest populations to confront the global mismanagement of natural resources.

Proper stewardship of natural assets and liabilities is a matter of planetary urgency: natural resources have the potential either to transform the poorest countries or to tear them apart, while the carbon emissions and agricultural follies of the developed world could further impoverish them. The Plundered Planet charts a course between unchecked profiteering on the one hand and environmental romanticism on the other to offer realistic and sustainable solutions to dauntingly complex issues.

Grounded in a belief in the power of informed citizens, Collier proposes a series of international standards that would help poor countries rich in natural assets better manage those resources, policy changes that would raise world food supply, and a clear-headed approach to climate change that acknowledges the benefits of industrialization while addressing the need for alternatives to carbon trading. Revealing how all of these forces interconnect, The Plundered Planet charts a way forward to avoid the mismanagement of the natural world that threatens our future.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:51 -0400)

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Argues that technological innovation, environmental protection, and regulation are key to managing the planet's natural resources and ensuring equitable development.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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