Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on October 1, 2013

in Growth, Inequality, Trade

… is from page 44 of Angus Deaton’s new book, The Great Escapea (so far) fine volume that I am now about one-fourth of the way through in reading; Deaton uses the term “the Great Escape” to describe the liberation of much (although not yet all) of humanity, over roughly the past 250 years, from the grinding and to us moderns almost-unimaginably harsh and dreary poverty that was the lot of nearly every person in all generations until this Great Escape (original emphasis):

The rapid growth of China and India has not only enabled hundreds of millions of the world’s citizens to make the Great Escape but made the world a more equal place.  If we care about people, rather than countries, [this] optimistic picture … is the correct one.

It’s never amusing – although always notable – when “Progressives” who (claim to) care so very much about income inequality are positively hostile to the globalization that (as in the cases of China and India) is doing far more than any redistributionist government policy or “international minimum-wage” regulation could possibly do to make incomes across the globe more equal.  What system of morality jolts someone into self-righteous indignation over poverty and the large absolute size of the income distribution in extraordinarily wealthy countries such as the United States and, simultaneously, prods that person to decry economic processes that, while these might further increase income differences within the U.S. and other wealthy countries, greatly reduce income inequalities across the globe by raising millions of desperately poor people out of absolute poverty and into standards of living that at least begin to approach those that were enjoyed by ordinary Americans in, say, 1930?

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