Friday, 22 January 2010

Cheer up!

Impressive things have happened in our world in recent years:
World poverty is falling. Between 1970 and 2006, the global poverty rate has been cut by nearly three quarters. The percentage of the world population living on less than $1 a day (in PPP-adjusted 2000 dollars) went from 26.8% in 1970 to 5.4% in 2006.

Perhaps the most miraculous aspect of this is the fact that:
Although world population has increased by about 80% over this time (World Bank 2009), the number of people below the $1 a day poverty line has shrunk by nearly 64%, from 967 million in 1970 to 350 million in 2006.

Huge numbers of new people and yet a massive decrease in poverty - in absolute terms not just relative. Leftists who continue to talk of a crisis of capitalism or the disasters of globalisation are partaking in some strange fantasy.

On the other hand, Greens may have more of a point. It may well be right to worry what this increase in wealth and population might do to the planet. But the jury really is still out. In the meantime, we should take heart at this incredible achievement. Things for most people in the world just keep getting better.


H/t Marginal Revolution.

6 comments:

Hey Skipper said...

PJ O'Rourke's All the Trouble in the World is very good, and funny, on this.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Hmm, sounds impressive. But I fear that economics will always be a closed book to me so I'd better not say any more.

Brit said...

The Leftist's next trick is "relative poverty", Gaw. This is an unbeatable trump card of a concept whereby it doesn't matter how much things improve for the average bod in absolute terms, you can always cry Injustice by comparing him with Bill Gates.

Sean said...

The truth is revealed, the Meerkats made it from the Kalahari to Russia by boat.Forget Ikea they are the true spirit of capitalism, insure instead of saving.

Gaw said...

Skip: We don't hear so much of PJO'R over here nowadays, which is a shame as I agree he's hilariously perceptive.

Gadj: Thank you for your modest contribution.

Brit: It's pathological it seems - and another example of the inexhaustibility of human ingenuity.

Sean: Ha! I'd never seen that ad as a parable for our times! 'Compare the Meerkat' is instructive in all sorts of ways it seems.

malty said...

Oh yes, the emergence of the downtrodden masses into the light, anyone can now afford an artificial limb.
Excpt the Icelanders of course who appear to be travelling in the opposite direction.