De Amerikaanse economist en Bloomberg columnist Noah Smith reageert op een Guardian op-ed die Philip Alston schreef naar aanleiding van zijn eindrapport als speciale rapporteur over extreme armoede en mensenrechten voor de VN.
Noah Smith maakt volgende punten contra Alston:
- The lower the poverty threshold, the more important it is. Reducing $1.90/day poverty is more important than reducing $3.10/day poverty, which is more important than reducing $5.50/day poverty, etc. etc.
Dismissing the $1.90 threshold is therefore ridiculous…
- The article’s author dismisses the idea that growth reduces poverty. Growth reduces poverty far more than anything else.
- The author equates “growth” with laissez-faire economic policies, which is wrong. He then dismisses China, discounting its impact on poverty reduction because he believes its growth didn’t come from laissez-faire policies.
- The author makes a number of assertions that are just flat-out wrong, such as that growth is correlated with increasing hunger and a reduction in the number of living-wage jobs. In fact, the exact opposite is true.
By insisting we A) ignore important poverty reduction metrics, B) equate economic growth with laissez-faire policies, and C) discount the experience of China, the author does a vast and grievous disservice to the poor people of Earth, and to efforts to make them less poor.