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January 25th, 2010


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01:20 pm - Hopeful Signs About Global Poverty & Inequality
One of the trusisms of much of the US is a growing distrust and fear of the future. Here’s one of several polls that I’ve seen about this issue. Among progressives, attitudes about the future of the third world tend to be even grimmer, with many people being convinced that the future of the third world is one of overpopulation, poverty, and oppression.

Fortunately, that seems to be untrue. As I’ve mentioned before, it looks like global poverty and economic inequality is declining rather than growing, and here’s some more solid data on this. The tables for the poverty rate are interesting, but not nearly as impressive as those on world income distribution and most especially that worldwide Gini coefficient data. One of the links contains a more detailed look at changes in income distribution in various nations. It’s clear that most of the improvement has come in China & India, but in addition to the fact that these two nations contain more than 1/3 of the world’s population , a look at the various tables in the last of the articles I linked to shows that similar trends are happening in other third world nations like Brazil, just not as dramatically.

It’s clear that the first world could do considerably more to help this process (or in most cases, to avoid hindering it), but the fact remains that continuing industrialization and urbanization is doing a truly vast amount to help all people in the planet live better lives.
Current Mood: pleasedpleased

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:derekcfpegritz
Date:January 26th, 2010 03:51 am (UTC)
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The only way the First World will ever be able to truly help the Third is to re-establish policies of colonialism. But rather than aggressively colonize other nations, it would be more reasonable to give those nations' people or leaders a choice: if you want our help, technologically and financially, you play by our rules and adaptyour cultures to better coexist with yourself and your neighbours. If you don't, that's fine--but you won't get a penny from us.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:January 26th, 2010 04:36 am (UTC)
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Dear gods is that naive. I can see nations offering to do this, and the end result would be corporations from that nation looking on this endeavor as an excellent way to get really rich on cheap labor who a government that they at least partially control is able to control.

In general, colonialism (I primarily know about the British version) did nothing to help the nation doing the colonizing, and made the lives of the colonized significantly worse - the only benefit was to a small group of rich folks who controlled the various colonial enterprises - they got really whomping rich. Your idea would have the exact same result.

Your idea is the sort of logic being used in Iraq, and it's not working out well there for anyone (other than of course Blackwater, Halliburton, and etc...).

I studied international development for several years, and gave up on it because outside-directed development at best fails, and at worst (and most commonly) ends up as an allegedly respectable way to drain third world nations of their money (look at the history of the IMF for many, many examples of this crap).

Development that works comes from inside various nations, which do far better when first world nations leave them the hell alone politically. The only way in which the first world can help the third is by providing engineers and teachers to help the people in these nations solve their problems, and to train their own engineers and teachers. This works, it works exceedingly well, and it's why most of East Asia is doing so much better now than it was 30 years ago.
[User Picture]
From:derekcfpegritz
Date:January 26th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
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I must actually clarify my terms here, as I do not intend a return to 19th-Century-style British colonialism, but something that might perhaps be more akin to national mentoring or development consultation. Will get to that in my own blog once I've got the time!
[User Picture]
From:roseembolism
Date:January 27th, 2010 12:10 am (UTC)
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Because of course, having political administrators half a world away determine what's needed for a culture has always worked so well.
[User Picture]
From:james_nicoll
Date:January 26th, 2010 03:53 am (UTC)
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May I link to this?
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:January 26th, 2010 04:26 am (UTC)
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Absolutely.
[User Picture]
From:seawasp
Date:January 26th, 2010 02:44 pm (UTC)
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Nooooooo! How dare you try to imply the world could get better! Don't you know that we must continue a decline from a mythical Golden Age into decay and savagery until Mad Max will look like the apex of civilization?
[User Picture]
From:roseembolism
Date:January 27th, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
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Mythical Golden Age: wasn't that when women all wore golden lame' "Cross your Heart" bikinis?

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