NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 13, 2008

Legal empowerment can help end poverty, according to a new report from the United Nations.  The researchers argue that grave injustice is widespread and is one of the main reasons why so much of humanity remains mired in poverty. 

Other findings:

  • Two in every three people on the planet -- a total of 4 billion -- are excluded from the rule of law.
  • Around 40 percent of the developing world's five-year-old children are not registered as even existing.
  • India only has 11 judges for every 1 million people.

Because they are outside the rule of law, the vast majority of poor people are obliged to work (if they work at all) in the informal economy, which is less productive than the formal, legal part of the economy. 

Later, people will find that the home they live in, the land they farm, or the business that they start, is not protected by legally enforceable property rights.  Even in the rare cases when they can afford to go to court, the service is poor, say the researchers.

Source: "The Law Poor," The Economist, June 7, 2008.

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