This idea that poor brown folks are just like richer, gammony ones, is what motivates the neoliberal globalisers like myself. An enrichment of melanin does not change the basic human desires, three squares and shelter at night, the wish that children grow into a better world, the grand-snotties enjoy a physical and civil wealth unknown to those who labour to bring them into this world.
So, we neoliberals would like those others to have what we do have. That means they also need the system that we have, that capitalism, markets, trade, that has made us all so stinking rich. Sure, this can be dressed up into the ideas that capitalism itself is natural, or that it’s a phase that must be gone through before true communism arrives. Or that trade is innate to our species, even predating it, as that evidence of long distance truck and barter in flint stones shows us. But the real argument is entirely practical.
No place has got rich – that is, the population enjoying a multiplicity of those three squares and a roof – without being roughly capitalist, roughly free market and trading across the borders of that place or society. Non-capitalism, non-marketism and autarky just don’t produce the result. We can and should go further too. Any place that is rich has been that roughly capitalist, marketist and tradist for some time now. Those places that have only in recent decades adopted the trio are getting rich. Those that still haven’t done so are still poor.
Sure, there’s a spectrum of possible policies, from Sweden’s tax heavy social democracy to Hong Kong’s near laissez faire. But that is a spectrum that always includes our trio.
We now have that further proof of the contention:
An additional 150 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty by the end of next year as conflict, climate change and Covid-19 combine to end two decades of progress in raising the living standards of those on the lowest incomes, say the latest World Bank estimates.
The Washington-based organisation said the proportion of the world’s population living on less than $1.90 a day was expected to rise from 9.1% to 9.4% during 2020, with the increase concentrated in countries with already high poverty rates.
In the absence of the outbreak of coronavirus, the Bank said it would have expected the poverty rate to fall below 8% during 2020.
Jam that neoliberal globalisation into reverse and it’s not just that fewer people climb to those giddy heights of a sufficient diet. Peeps fall off the tiny hills of mere sufficiency instead.
Or, if we’d like a piccie of the phenomenon:
Let’s bring those capitalisms, markets and trade to sub-Saharan Africa, eh?
Another way to say much the same thing. The Washington Consensus was a list of stupid things you shouldn’t do to an economy. Even the mention of the Washington Consensus will make a good lefty spit in contempt. But the thing is the Washington Consensus was right – there are stupid things you shouldn’t do to an economy and in the absence of doing the stupid things then the peeps get richer.
Neoliberal globalisation has caused the greatest reduction in the poverty of human beings ever. We should have more of it.