Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chart of the Day

From the March 3rd Economist:
The past four years have seen the worst economic crisis since the 1930s and the biggest food-price increases since the 1970s. That must surely have swollen the ranks of the poor.

Wrong. The best estimates for global poverty come from the World Bank’s Development Research Group, which has just updated from 2005 its figures for those living in absolute poverty (not be confused with the relative measure commonly used in rich countries). The new estimates show that in 2008, the first year of the finance-and-food crisis, both the number and share of the population living on less than $1.25 a day (at 2005 prices, the most commonly accepted poverty line) was falling in every part of the world. This was the first instance of declines across the board since the bank started collecting the figures in 1981.

source: Economist, March 3, 2012

The estimates for 2010 are partial but, says the bank, they show global poverty that year was half its 1990 level. The world reached the UN’s "millennium development goal" of halving world poverty between 1990 and 2015 five years early. This implies that the long-term rate of poverty reduction--slightly over one percentage point a year--continued unabated in 2008-10, despite the dual crisis. . .

The poverty data chime with other evidence. Estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organisation that the number of hungry people soared from 875m in 2005 to 1 billion in 2009 turned out to be wrong, and were quietly dropped. Derek Headey of the International Food Policy Research Institute has shown that despite the world food-price spike, people’s assessment of their own food situation in most poor and middle-income countries was better in 2008 than it had been in 2006.


OBloodyHell said...

>>> and were quietly dropped.

Yeah, better to remain able to shout "The Sky Is Falling!" if you can make people forget the times before when you'd done it and it's been BS.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Our technology to reduce poverty - our floor-raising abilities, if you will - have been stunning for 300 years, really, which is why we have huge populations at all. Our ceiling-raising possibilities, while dramatic, have been more volatile. What we call a crisis is a fall from a high level to a medium-high level.

Yet, our advances have been so remarkable that we really should be much richer now, shouldn't we?

OBloodyHell said...

>>> Yet, our advances have been so remarkable that we really should be much richer now, shouldn't we?

Not really. We squander a lot on overhead. Good? Bad? Dunno. Since I'm one to generally agree that material wealth isn't the be-all-end-all of existence (LOL, though *I* am not the one who gets to say when satiation is achieved) I think the biggest issue with unused-abused wealth is that it's often squandered on lame, stupid ventures which are clearly idiotic to the slightest rational sense from the get-go. Carbon Tax anyone?

And while I concur that a lot "could" be done for the rest of the world with that wealth, I think the history of Lotto winners shows what happens consistently when you drop great wealth on anyone who didn't earn it. The real solution is to use the wealth to expand the opportunities for everyone to develop their own wealth-engines.

That's kinda what's happening with China. That's over a billion people bootstrapping themselves into a suitably functional modern economy, and if that's not A Real Good Thing I dunno what is.

OBloodyHell said...

P.S., Hope you're doing ok, Carl.

Anonymous said...

Roy: Just glanced at latest posted thread to see if thoughts such as OBH's last comment had happened, get update on Carl. Ditto his hope, Carl.