Monday, November 1, 2010

Wars, Guns and Votes by Paul Collier

The full title of this book is Wars, Guns, and Votes - Democracy in Dangerous Places. Collier had also written another book that I have read called The Bottom Billion. I also wrote a review of the book, the Bottom Billion.

One of the things Paul Collier talks about is that in places that are very poor and violent, having the international community or the US come in and force a vote solves nothing. The place will still be poor and violent. Well, duh! I would have thought that being a Brit, Paul Collier would know, at least some of British history and not assume places will be fixed with a free vote.

I can understand where the Americans are coming from. They had their revolution, elected their own government, and thought they had found freedom and democracy for themselves. They did not realize what else they had. Britain had the concept of the rights and responsibilities of their citizen, and more important had concept of the rule of law. The British system was not perfect, but it by and large, functioned well. This is why, when they got what we consider democracy, where all citizens had the right to vote, things went smoothly.

Now, in the Americans, the 13 colonies already had such things as the rule of law. They also had experience voting, as there were local voted-in governments. Now, when they kicked out their British rulers, they had no problems. They did not realize what a debt their owned their British forefathers, for without individual rights and responsibilities, and the rule of law, I cannot see how just voting will give anyone decent government. This is, of course, what Paul Collier found out by studying what happen in poor violent countries that got a vote. They did not get decent government. They did not get problems solved.

As with the other book of Paul Collier’s, this book is a very easy read. He does a lot of research and presents the research and possible solutions in a manner this is easy to understand. He talks about more than just democracy and voting. If you want to read a regular review, see If you want to see his book from an economic perspective, see oxonomics. Paul Collier is also on If you do a search for Paul Collier, you will find him. He is also very easy to listen to.

This book review and other books I have reviewed are on my website at Also on my website is how to find this book on Amazon if you care to purchase it. See Wars, Guns, Votes by Paul Collier.

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