Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Mr. Happy and Mr. Miserable, redux

I call the following to your attention:

The bullet:

"The good news about extreme poverty is that more people have been lifted out of it in the past 10 years than in any decade in world history; that this is mainly the result of rapid economic growth in China and India, which is in turn principally due to internal reform not external action; that the real contributions of rich countries have mainly been through trade and investment, not aid; and that world leaders have played only a minor though constructive role in that process."

(Hat tip to Russ Roberts at Cafe Hayek.)

Glad to see folks are checking in here.


Blogger Sammy said...

The devil is in the details. While it's almostly certainly true that global poverty has fallen in recent decades, there are problems with the World Bank measurements of global poverty. Thomas Pogge and economist Sanjay Reddy have the goods here. Due to the measurement problems that Pogge and Reddy point out, we don't seem to know exactly how fast poverty is falling. There may also be problems with the 1-dollar-a-day purchasing power measurement itself, most notably that it isn't tied to goods that the poor in particular consume.

I personally prefer to look at other measures of well-being, particularly longevity and infant mortality. If we interpret poverty in these terms, then the world does seem to be becoming a much better place.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Sammy said...

I want to quibble with the Kay article a bit. I should also add that although there isn't a ton that we can do about global poverty besides not messing things up too much, there are still practical reforms that, if implemented, would probably help out. Dani Rodrik and other contributers have some good ideas here.

12:19 AM  

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