NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Poor Benefit From Globalization

March 26, 2002

Anti-globalizers say the world has become increasingly unfair, but as Johan Norberg, the author of "In Defense of Global Capitalism" (Stockholm: Timbro, 2001), points out on TechCentral, in recent decades "extreme poverty has diminished, and where it was quantitatively greatest -- in Asia -- many hundreds of millions of people have begun to achieve a secure existence and even a modest degree of affluence."

  • Between 1965 and 1998, the average world citizen's income almost doubled, from $2,497 to $4,839 over the period.
  • For the poorest one-fifth of the world's population, the increase has been faster still, with average income more than doubling during the same period from $551 to $1,137 dollars.
  • The World Bank has called China's transformation toward a market economy "the biggest and fastest poverty reduction in history."

International exchange has increased the introduction of new ideas in poor countries, including individual liberty. Imports of medicines have improved living conditions, modern technology has improved the food supply.

"Individuals have become more free to choose their own occupations and to sell their products, says Norberg, and "Discrimination has been reduced since global capitalism doesn't care whether the best producer is a man or a woman."

Source: Johan Norberg, "Globo-Flop," TechCentral, March 22, 2001; Johan Norberg, "In Defense of Global Capitalism," trans. Roger Tanner (Stockholm: Timbro, 2001).


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