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Archive for January 27th, 2022

There were many notable tweets in 2021.

I realize there are still more than 11 months left in 2022, but we may have a winner for this year’s best tweet.

The hack leftists at Oxfam have a new report with the laughable title of “Inequality Kills.” As part of the report, they grouse about “the recent 40-year period of neoliberalism” that supposedly helped only rich elitists.

Johan Norberg destroyed Oxfam’s sophomoric argument with a tweet showing that this era of free-market policy is associated with dramatic reductions in extreme poverty.

As Johan points out, if neoliberalism (in Europe, that’s the left’s term for people who support economic liberty) was a sinister plot by “rich, powerful, and corrupt elites,” their scheme failed.

They wound up enriching poor people instead!

In reality, of course, there was no secret plot.

What actually happened is that nations did shift toward free markets. And pro-market policies are the only effective way to reduce poverty.

Here’s a chart from the latest edition of Economic Freedom of the World. As you can see, economic freedom has increased over the past two decades, from an average score of 6.61 up to 7.04.

By the way, the above chart underestimates the policy improvement in poor nations.

That’s because the level of economic liberty has declined in the United States since 2000. It’s also declined in Western Europe. And it’s declined slightly in Japan.

So if we took the average score of developing nations, we would see an even bigger increase.

And that increase from 2000-2019 would be relatively small compared to the huge increase in the average Fraser Institute score the preceding two decades.

As you can see from this chart, we got a dramatic increase in economic liberty during the years of the Washington Consensus, with average scores increasing from 5.31 to 6.60.

So what’s the bottom line?

The developing world has enjoyed huge reductions in severe poverty thanks to improvements in economic freedom.

Which is exactly the opposite of the statist agenda being advocated by the kooks at Oxfam.

P.S. For those interested, Johan added a follow-up tweet to show that the reduction in global poverty was not just the result of what happened in China.

Since we shifted to China, I’ll augment Johan’s tweet by noting that China’s partial liberalization after Mao led to more inequality in addition to a giant reduction in poverty.

So even though poor people were big winners, Oxfam probably thinks this is bad news since rich people got richer faster than poor people got richer.

P.P.S. The cranks at Oxfam are not the only ones who are willing to hurt the poor so long as the rich get hurt even more.

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