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Saturday, December 03, 2005


Hardwin Jones

How have you read that he said "a 12-fold increase in trade has helped boost living standards" (which you say he says is a bad thing, which is an asinine comment)?
I think he's pointing up that the five-fold increase in economic growth has *not* led to an increase in living standards.
Amazing heresy as it may seem to an economist, the evidence even just within the paragraph you cite is that economic growth does not of necessity equate to growth in standard of living - there are significant factors which can weaken that linkage - including for one thing the policies pushed by the World Bank.

New Economist

Hardwin, a five-fold increase in growth will indeed improve living standards. You would be hard pressed to come up with a plausible economic system - even one run by a corrupt dictator - where such a huge increase in output did not lead to some improvement in living standards.

True, billions of people still live in absolute poverty, and we should not be complacent about that. But it is also true that the proportion is lower than two or three decades ago. Don't believe me - look at the work of the World Bank and its critics. A 2001 paper by Chen and Ravallion at the World Bank argued there had been a significant reduction in global poverty. They were criticised by some for over-estimating the reduction, and by others for under-estimating it. But you would find it difficult to find someone who can credibly claim there has been NO reduction. For a useful summary see: The Global Poverty Numbers Debate

Hardwin Jones

Hi, well I'm not sure what the five-fold increase is that Goldsmith's talking about.
But if we take the global economy, which Goldsmith seems to be referring to, it's growing in value, but both the number and proportion of Sub-Saharan Africans in extreme poverty is increasing (the lessening of world poverty you refer to is a result of South Asia's success in gradually climbing out of poverty)*.
This seems to indicate that you *can* have economic growth with no consequent increase in living standards for large sections of the population, indeed entire regions of the globe - which are nevertheless integrated into world trade, and are exporting large amounts of food and minerals.
The reason isn't (or isn't solely or mostly) corrupt dictators, but is more often down to various structural aspects of the current paradigm of globalisation, which Goldsmith alludes to. For one thing, the conditionalities imposed by the World Bank and the IMF are designed to allow the wealth of developing nations to flow unimpeded to rich country investors (Stiglitz).
If you'd like a reference for this, I'll find it at home and send it!

Tapsearch Com Tapart News

Explore the upside down Flat World of Thomas Friedman, a leading evangelist for Globalization and Free Trade. He says there were turning points in history that open the way for Globalization which he calls flatteners. However, he makes history fables in his analysis with not much matching up with the real world. It is garbage in and garbage out. He uses current statistics comparing the past but these stats do not compute with the past. He ignores the fact that workers have no voice in the process of Globalization and Free Trade. He uses "communication of rank" in an elitist fashion of the New York Times where he is a columnist. Instead of reading his book, we should be preparing for the post-globalization era. History tells us what happens when workers dignity is defaced and degraded.
See also http://tapsearch.com/tapartnews
http://arklineart.fotopages.com about the Art that Talks by Ray Tapajna

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