Thursday, November 13, 2003


A reader comments on the email I posted yesterday from someone experienced in welfare housing:

“I suppose most of this stuff everyone knows from day to day life ...but public discussion of it has become verboten. The much maligned "bourgeois values" of hard work, respect for education and personal responsibility do not provide an instant escape from poverty ...but they seem to have a better track record than the alternatives. Any kind of sexual practice is now broadcast on television but our society maintains a "Victorian" silence on the issue of personal responsibility among the poor.

The silence comes from an allegedly compassionate desire to protect or cosset the poor, rather than treating them like responsible adults. This probably does more damage in the long run. The trouble is that the silence suits the interests of a multibillion dollar public welfare industry”



Swedish free trader Johan Norberg says protectionism is killing poor countries and their people: "According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, EU protectionism deprives developing countries of nearly $700 billion in export income a year. That's almost 14 times more than poor countries receive in foreign aid..." and..."The rich countries' protectionism costs their citizens almost $1 billion every day. At that rate, you could fly all the cows in the OECD, 60 million of them, around the world every year in business class. In addition, the cows could be given almost $3,000 each in pocket money to spend in tax-free shops during their stopovers. "

More protectionist madness: "Taxpayer-subsidized water is just the beginning. U.S. cotton farmers also receive crop-specific payments that encourage them to grow more than they could sell if, like most business people, they had to recoup their production costs. According to a 2002 report from Oxfam International, these subsidies amount to nearly $4 billion year, or $230 an acre. By comparison, the market value of America's cotton crop in 2001 was about $3 billion. ... Even with all this help, U.S. cotton farmers insist they cannot make a go of it unless the government also pays companies to buy their crop."

And globalization is the solution

Economist Surjit S. Bhalla: "World poverty fell from 44 percent of the global population in 1980 to 13 percent in 2000, its fastest decline in history. Global income inequality has dropped over this period and is at its lowest level since at least 1910. Poor countries have grown about twice as fast as rich countries (3.1 percent annually versus 1.6 percent) during the era of globalization in 1980-2000, reversing the pattern of the prior two decades. The poor in poor countries have grown even faster; each 10 percent increase in incomes of the nonpoor has been associated with an 18 percent increase in incomes of the poor. There has been strong convergence in world incomes over the entire postwar period and the developing countries' share of the world's middle class has risen from 20 percent in 1960 to 70 percent in 2000. Some discussion of Bhalla's book and his critical stand against how 'The World Bank' defines poverty here


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