Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Dear Pope: It's a better world than you think

Is the Pope Right About the World? - Marian Tupy - The Atlantic:

December 11, 2013 - "In Evangelii Gaudium, an 'apostolic exhortation' released late last month, the pope bemoans inequality, poverty, and violence in the world.

"But here’s the problem: The dystopian world that Francis describes, without citing a single statistic, is at odds with reality. In appealing to our fears and pessimism, the pope fails to acknowledge the scope and rapidity of human accomplishment — whether measured through declining global inequality and violence, or growing prosperity and life expectancy....

"First, consider inequality. Academic researchers ... all agree that global inequality is declining. That is because 2.6 billion people in China and India are richer than they used to be. Their economies are growing much faster than those of their Western counterparts, thus shrinking the income gap that opened at the dawn of industrialization in the 19th century, when the West took off and left much of the rest of the world behind.

"Paradoxically, the shrinking of the global inequality gap was only possible after India and China abandoned their attempts to create equality through central planning....

"Second, let’s look at poverty.... Brookings Institution researchers Laurence Chandy and Geoffrey Gertz ... 'estimate that between 2005 and 2010, the total number of poor people around the world fell by nearly half a billion, from over 1.3 billion in 2005 to under 900 million in 2010. Poverty reduction of this magnitude is unparalleled in history: never before have so many people been lifted out of poverty over such a brief period of time.'"

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