… is from page 29 of François Bourguignon’s 2015 book, The Globalization of Inequality:
There were approximately 2 billion people living in extreme poverty in the early 1980s; however, the last 20 years have witnessed a considerable decline in that number. Since 1990, the number of people in poverty has dropped by around 500 million individuals. For the first time since the Industrial Revolution two centuries ago, economic progress is moving more quickly than [global] population growth, in part because the latter has slowed down but overwhelmingly because of accelerated growth in average income per capita in the developing world.
DBx: To be clear, the classic case for free trade is not, contrary to what some protectionists suppose, that the economic gains to poorer foreigners outweigh the economic losses to richer domestic citizens. The classic case for free (and freer) trade is that it yields net benefits in all countries that practice it. Yet it remains a great economic and ethical achievement of trade that, when it is freed in very poor countries, it lifts desperately poor people out of extreme poverty. That achievement is not to be discounted or, even, to be regarded as less important than are the gains that free(r) trade brings to the denizens of rich countries.