The bestselling author of The Bottom Billion returns to examine the fate of the poorest regions of the world, some of which exist in the richest nations

Since the 1970s, the Western consensus in economic policy has been governed by the assumption that any poor area—a city, a state or even an entire country—will find a way to progress through market forces. If local economies fail to revive, and market shifts have made a location unsuited to business needs, the workforce can and should relocate to more prosperous locales. Either way, no outside intervention is necessary: one way or another, the problem will work itself out.
Except it doesn’t. Using examples of the “left behind” regions, renowned development economist Paul Collier shows that centralized western economies have been the most ineffective to alleviate poverty—even if nationally the country seems to be growing. South Yorkshire, once a hub of the steel industry, is now the poorest region in England. From the United States to Japan, Zambia to Colombia, regions and nations experiencing economic decline find themselves with little recourse, ignored by the powers that could come to their aid.
In Left Behind, Collier examines how this one-size-fits-all, hands-off approach to economic policy has devastated areas and nations all over the world and made society vastly more unequal. With keen insight, he draws lessons from such disparate fields as behavioral psychology, evolutionary biology, and moral philosophy to explain how we can adapt to the needs of individual economies in order to build a brighter and fairer global future.


"Paul Collier shows how centralized authority and economic orthodoxy have hollowed out communities and deepened the divide between prosperous and neglected places. Ranging across politics, economics, and moral philosophy, he offers a compelling vision for renewal. This tour de force book points the way to a political economy of shared prosperity and common purpose." —Michael J. Sandel, Author of The Tyranny of Merit
“Practical lessons for how neglected places can be drawn back into the mainstream. Collier’s vision of a more inclusive and prosperous world is alluring. This book tells us how we might get there.” —Raghu Rajan, professor of finance, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago
"Being left behind is a curse on people, places, and even whole countries. Paul Collier brings his astonishing range of global experiences and interdisciplinary knowledge to forge a guidebook for catching up. He challenges the belief that the market is a trustworthy remedy and catalogues the many collective strategies that have worked in the past and can work again. Great wisdom lies herein." —Sir Angus Deaton, Nobel Laureate for Economic Sciences
"Paul Collier has written another brilliant, must-read book for anyone interested in human progress. I greatly enjoyed this book, you will too." —Baroness Dambisa Moyo, Author of Dead Aid
"Brilliant, orthodoxy-upending …this book is a compelling and practical manifesto for a better future. It is not only required reading but demands action." —Andy Haldane, Chief Executive, Royal Society of Arts
"Another tour de force from the acclaimed author of The Bottom Billion. Reading the book left me with a sense of optimism and hope that those who get left behind need not stay that way." —Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization
"A wide-ranging account of why societies have gone so badly wrong in the early 21st century by emphasizing individualism, and an ambitious – but essential – agenda for tackling some of the problems." —Professor Diane Coyle, Author of GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History
"In this brilliant, passionate, angry book, Paul Collier makes a deeply unfashionable but completely convincing case for hope. Drawing on a wide range of fascinating/persuasive/hugely interesting case studies from across the world Collier shows that with appropriate support left behind places can “spiral up” – rebuilding their communities and their economies through respect, hard work and good governance. In the process he draws on the latest research to show us what good states look like and how they operate. A manual for the future for all of us." —Rebecca Henderson, John and Natty McArthur University Professor, Harvard University
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