Half A Billion People Escaped Poverty Between 2005 and 2010

Global poverty has plummeted in recent years.

Kurzweil summarizes a new Brookings Study:

The Millennium Development Goal to halve the rate of global poverty by 2015 was met sometime in 2007, says the Brooking Institution in a new report, Poverty in Numbers: The Changing State of Global Poverty from 2005 to 2015.

By 2015, we will not only have halved the global poverty rate, but will have halved it again to under 10 percent, or less than 600 million people, with India and China responsible for three-quarters of the reduction in the world’s poor expected between 2005 and 2015.

“While these findings likely come as a surprise to many, they shouldn’t,” says the report. “Growth lies at the heart of poverty reduction. As developing country growth took off in the new millennium, epitomized in the rise of emerging markets, a massive drop in poverty was surely to be expected.

“With few exceptions, however, the international community has been slow to catch on. We hear far more about the 64 million people held back in poverty due to the Great Recession than we do about the hundreds of millions who escaped impoverishment over the last six years. While there is good reason to focus public attention on the critical and ongoing need to support those still stuck below the poverty line, there is also reason to celebrate successes and to ensure policy debates are grounded in reality.”

The two are not unrelated. The rise in South and East Asia, particularly, has come partly at the cost of the West. They’ve lifted themselves out of poverty by out-competing the developed world on the basis of cheap talent.

From the report’s Executive Summary [PDF]:

The Millennium Development Goal to halve the rate of global poverty by 2015 was met sometime in 2007.

  • By 2015, we will not only have halved the global poverty rate, but will have halved it again to under 10 percent, or less than 600 million people.
  • India and China are responsible for three-quarters of the reduction in the world’s poor expected between 2005 and 2015.
  • Between 2005 and 2015, Asia’s share of global poverty is expected to fall from two-thirds to one-third, while Africa’s share more than doubles from 28 to 60 percent.
  • Nevertheless, Sub-Saharan Africa’s poverty rate has fallen below 50 percent for the first time. By 2015, its poverty rate is expected to fall below 40 percent—a feat China did not achieve until the mid-90s.
  • Whereas only 20 percent of the world’s poor lived in fragile states in 2005, this share is rising sharply and will exceed 50 percent by 2014.

An illustrative table from the full report [PDF]:

This is great, great news for humanity. And the West — including the Bush administration — deserves significant credit for the investment that has helped make it happen.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    “cheap talent [and hard work]”

  2. john personna says:

    BTW doesn’t Chinese investment dwarf that of the Bush administration?

    I mean, do you forget who bought Bush’s Treasury bonds?

  3. James Joyner says:

    JP:

    Oh, I by no means discount the hard work of those in the developing world. But it’s not as if the Americans and Europeans that used to do those jobs weren’t working hard.

    Those lending money at interest don’t typically get credit for how the money is invested.

  4. john personna says:

    Lolz, and those borrowing at interest should?

    Bush’s selfless deficits!

  5. wr says:

    And in America, we’re trying to put our own people into poverty, thanks to Republicans like the governor of Wisconsin. But that’s good, because Dodd will pay less in taxes.

  6. JKB says:

    This is terrible news. What is a poor socialist to do. All these countries succumbing to the way America averted socialism, capitalism turned to democratic ends. The good life no longer restricted to the rich but a spreading of opportunity. Why the next thing you know these people will be buying washers and dryers, cars, iPods and all manner of consumer goods. And as the Lefties will tell you, that ain’t good for your soul. Look for a concerted effort by NGOs to find victim groups that must have government action to give them equality of outcome instead of opportunity.

    It will take decades for the Lefties to build up a large downtrodden public employee class to rise up and throw over their masters. And right now, in the world there isn’t certainty that that will finally win the Left their social paradise.

    On the upside, there are half a billion more people who have their head enough above water to see new opportunities. Opportunities for themselves and the world.

  7. john personna says:

    wr, the teachers of those half-billion work for “slave wages!”

    They should just go home right, and not teach the kids?

    This really does get to the dynamic of the rising economies and our own sense of entitlement. We are willing to work hard, if you pay us enough, and give us full retirement. Otherwise, we close the schools?

  8. wr says:

    JP — “We are willing to work hard if you pay us enough.”

    I’m sorry, John, do you give your labor away for free? Do you expect to keep working every day even if your employer slashes your wages and violates your contractual guaranteed benefits?

    Of course not. But teachers apparently have a moral obligation to keep working no matter how they are treated by their employers. Because it’s convenient to you.

    Not that it matters to you, apparently, but the teachers have already agreed to all the financial concessions. That’s not why they’re protesting.

  9. john personna says:

    What I’m describing wr, is the real problem growing out of globalization. We really do compete now with societies who pay their teachers, and cops, and engineers, a whole lot less.

    The emotional response that we all deserve our higher pay is just that.

    Maybe the salary fairy loves us more?

  10. Brett #2 says:

    The two are not unrelated. The rise in South and East Asia, particularly, has come partly at the cost of the West.

    Considering that new competition, I suppose we didn’t do too badly before the recession in 2008. Unemployment was slowly declining even if real wages weren’t increasing.

    I suspect that we might ultimately see Developing World and Developed World wages converge around some new world-wide equilibrium, with some penalties and rent in regulated sectors. That’s not so hot for the Developed World (since our part of the convergence will likely be in the form of stagnant and/or declining real wages for most of the population) unless we can get the costs of goods and services way down.

  11. john personna says:

    (I have heard in these threads “but, we are a rich society.” No, strictly speaking, we are an debtor society.)

  12. wr says:

    JP — Are we sending our schoolchildren to India for their education? If not, what difference does it make how much a teacher in Mumbai is paid?

  13. john personna says:

    What do you think makes a Shanghai gizmo cheaper than a Detroit gizmo?

    Total system overhead. One reason engineers can make less is that they have less college loans. One reason they have less college loans is that their instructors make less, and so on.

    I’m kind of boggled that you don’t get that. “what difference does it make how much a teacher in Mumbai is paid?”

    Seriously? How much does it cost India to graduate a civil engineer?

  14. Gerry W. says:

    What should have been done with hindsight is that Clinton should have had a clause-20 years perhaps-that jobs would increase in the other countries according to a tariff and wage scale so that the middle class would not be destroyed. While we have given up some 30% of our manufacturing (57,000 factories-6 million jobs) and also some information jobs to India, we have done nothing in our country to create new jobs to replace the ones that we lost. And if you find a job, it will be less in pay.

    ***This is great, great news for humanity. And the West — including the Bush administration — deserves significant credit for the investment that has helped make it happen.***

    Sorry James, I don’t get it. Destroying your own country and making a communist country better makes no sense. While we want countries from China to Egypt to be better, I don’t get the need to destroy middle class jobs and small communities in America. While the democrats may not know any better, the republicans from Fox to all the other pundits who claim they know more than anyone, continues to destroy the middle class or some entity for their benefit. The same with Texas, oh how they brag, with lower taxes and creating jobs. Like, take away jobs from one state to another. Well, that is not creating jobs.

    I watched and watched year after year when Bush was going to attend to our country. And it never happened. It was “stay the course” as I watched the factories close. I watched year after year on the Iraq war on its quagmire and nothing happened until Murtha and others started screaming that something had to be done. I watched year after year as Bush abandoned Afghanistan and wanted results and nothing happened. Bush was the absolute worst idiot that stepped on this planet. A right wing social conservative who was guided by God or by a “Higher Authority” in his words. He stayed the course and ran both the country and two wars into the ground. You cannot run a country on an ideology. All I saw from Ohio and the Midwest, is our jobs leaving the country, our money going to Iraq, and our infrastructure in neglect. And you cannot run a country like that. The republicans have offered nothing new. It is the same old robotic answers. They are worse than democrats. While democrats spend, the republicans trickle down never trickles down as they do not attend to the problems at hand. And when problems arise, well “that is your problem.”

    The republicans have said nothing to this date on what they will do for the middle class. We lost the jobs, we saw the tax cuts to the rich, and now “we” need to take more away from Medicare and Social Security. And when “we” get into power, “our” good deed is to have more tax cuts to the rich. And you will continually ignore the middle class and our infrastructure.

  15. wr says:

    John P — Have you been to India? Is this your idea of what you’d like America to be like?

  16. sam says:

    @Brett # 2

    “I suspect that we might ultimately see Developing World and Developed World wages converge around some new world-wide equilibrium, with some penalties and rent in regulated sectors.”

    Probably. But you know what Keynes said about the long run.

  17. john personna says:

    wr, you are really coming across as unhinged today.

    This is a dangerous reality. You can’t just get me to change my mind, and “whoops” Asia is no longer taking share of global wages.

  18. john personna says:

    BTW, sam and brett #2 are talking about what I’m talking about, the shake-out of globalization and wages.

    Do you have a plan to put that genie back in its bottle, or do you just want the old wages anyway?

  19. Brett #2 says:

    Do you have a plan to put that genie back in its bottle, or do you just want the old wages anyway?

    I think most of us will be better off in the long run, barring some sort of global catastrophe that tears the whole system asunder (and no, the financial crisis of 2008-2009 did not do that). And considering how long most of us in our twenties and thirties will live, we might live to see it.

  20. wr says:

    Yes, Asia is taking part of global wages.

    That doesn’t explain why corporations are keeping wages down while booking record profits and obscene payouts for top execs.

    We are redistibuting the wealth of this nation, and it’s all going to a handful of people at the top. But it’s good to know that when you’re done blaming union members, you can start blaming poor people in India. Maybe Republicans can even gin up a war against them.