American Elephants


The Wonders of Free Market Capitalism by The Elephant's Child

The Manhattan Contrarian (Francis Menton)  wrote a while back:

In the progressive project to remake humanity and civilization, nothing counts but good intentions, and the details will all be worked out by experts, using the infinite credit card. And thus we get $1 trillion or so of annual “anti-poverty” spending that never makes a dent in poverty. As hard as that one is to top, nothing can top the delusional thinking on the subject of renewable energy, particularly the idea that it will be easy and costless to transition over a few years to a world where fossil fuels have been banished, and yet we want and need.

Today, from FEE (the Foundation for Economic Education) we have the encouraging headline “The World’s Poorest People are getting Richer Faster Than Anyone Else.” “The speed of poverty alleviation in the last 25 years has been historically unprecedented. Not only is the proportion of people in poverty at a record low, but in spite of adding 2 billion to the planet’s population, the overall number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen too.

As Johan Norberg writes in his book Progress, “If you had to choose a society to live in but did not know what your social or economic position would be, you would probably choose the society with the lowest proportion (not the lowest numbers) of poor, because this is the best judgement of the life of an average citizen.” Well, in 1820, 94 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty (less than $1.90 per day adjusted for purchasing power). In 1990 this figure was 34.8 percent, and in 2015, just 9.6 percent.

In the last quarter century, more than 1.25 billion people escaped extreme poverty – that equates to over 138,000 people (i.e., 38,000 more than the Parisian crowd that greeted Father Wresinski in 1987) being lifted out of poverty every day. If it takes you five minutes to read this article, another 480 people will have escaped the shackles of extreme of poverty by the time you finish. Progress is awesome. In 1820, only 60 million people didn’t live in extreme poverty. In 2015, 6.6 billion did not.

Do read the whole thing, I thought a little very good news might be welcome in the face of the outrage and anguish that are the daily fare of the media. No, it is not the result of the progressive project to remake humanity. It’s the result of plain old free market capitalism. Works every time.

 




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