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A less developed crunch

Rich economies are in freefall. But things may be a bit brighter for the world's worst off

By Paul Collier   March 2009

In my book, The Bottom Billion (2007), I argued that some 60 low-income countries, with a population of about a billion people, have missed out on the recent decades of global prosperity. But does their exclusion from growth mean that the worst of the economic crisis will pass them by too?

Sadly not. The countries at the bottom still suffer from what economists call “transmission shocks” from the west. These forces are not the same as those devastating our own economies. Poorer countries were never sufficiently creditworthy to benefit from substantial private credit: during the wild, late phase of irrational…

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