Monday, 13 January 2014

An extraordinary reduction in world poverty over 36 years

Capitalism works! Or perhaps, more exactly, the combination of free enterprise and free trade works. 

26.8% of world’s population lived on $1 or less (in 1987 dollars) in 1970 - only 5.4 % in 2006.

Please see the evidence here, to which my attention was drawn by Toby Young here.

Had it not been for the disastrous hiatus of 1914-1945 and the popularity after 1917 of collectivism the world might have reached this happy juncture sooner. The Victorians deserve a huge apology from so many of their critics. Free trade and free enterprise are nothing if not Victorian values.

On the other hand, economic growth is another way of saying progress and a conservative, unlike a liberal, socialist or fascist, must feel a certain ambivalence about progress. Progress is, on the whole, good - a conservative is not a blind reactionary - but so much is lost. As the world becomes richer, safer and more law-abiding it also becomes duller. Travel now, gentle reader, while there is still time.

1 comment:

  1. Extend this back to the1800s. Your British archives have amazing source studies. You will be shocked how far the world has come in reducing poverty in 150 years. Forget 30%. Try 99.8% in 150 years! 2.6% productivity & capital efficiency improvements do amazing things when extended over a century+!