Analytical Economist explains how capitalism helps the world’s poor more than any liberal will ever admit:
Since the age of globalization began, poverty has been falling throughout the world.
The percent of the population of developing countries living in absolute poverty was cut in half from 43% to 21% from 1990 to 2010.
Forecasts from HumanProgress project an end to absolute poverty by 2030.
And this was all enabled by capitalism.
But economics aside, wealth does much more than enable us to purchase more. It enhances our health and sense of well-being as well. In that sense, wealth literally saves lives.
Look no further than Africa, where gains from free trade have enabled the continent to combat its greatest threats to health: AIDS and malaria.
As The Telegraph reported:
Earlier this month, the United Nations announced that malaria’s global death toll has more than halved since the turn of the century, saving six million lives. It’s the greatest success story of modern times, yet no one seems interested in telling it.
The aid donations, the billion mosquito nets, the surge in proper testing – all form part of the picture. But so do the efforts of Africans themselves.
This has been a landmark year for Africa. It’s the first year in history, for example, that no wild polio cases have been reported in the continent; a disease that used to strike and often paralyse 350,000 children a year is now almost extinct. Aids infections have halved over the past 15 years. The recent eradication of Ebola in Sierra Leone is only the latest triumph in Africa’s war against the kinds of diseases that have kept so many countries on their knees for so long.
While overseas support has been crucial and highly effective in the struggle, the strongest force pushing back disease in the continent is capitalism; trade still brings in far more money than aid. Indoor smoke, dirty water and hunger still kill more Africans than malaria, so when a villager can afford rudimentary sanitation and healthcare, the effect on disease is profound.
It’s not just Africa that capitalism has benefited. The most economically free nations are also the richest, healthiest, most educated, and happiest.
For the world’s poor, capitalism is the gift that keeps on giving.