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joe emersberger

Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Posts: 513
Location: Windsor, Onatrio, Canada

Post Post subject: to economist re: poverty and inequality Reply with quote

Re: Poverty and Inequality: March 11: 2004 and "More or less equal?" March 11, 2004


You wrote that "the West should heed the call of compassion, and respond with policies to help the world's poor". Shouldn't that involve looking at the impact the policies you advocate have had on the on the world's poor?

Since 1980, the developing countries, pressured by rich countries, have shifted their economic policies in the direction you suggest. The results have been significantly reduced levels of economic growth.[1] Developing countries have been prohibited from implementing policies that allowed rich countries to develop.[2]

How can you discuss inequality, and our responsibility for it, without addressing these facts?

Your article "More or less equal?" fails to consider trends in inequality that are not complicated by calculations of income.

Compelling evidence is found that global inequality has increased if one compares progress in child mortality rate reduction in the developing world to what has taken place in rich countries. In 1960, children under five years of age were 6 times more likely to die in developing countries than in rich countries. By 1999 they were 15 times more likely to die.

The cost of this increased inequality is staggering. There were 10 million child deaths in the developing world in 1999 according to UNICEF. There would have been almost 3.6 million fewer, in 1999 alone, had inequality not increased since 1980, 6 million fewer had it not increased since 1960 [3].

You hold China up as an example of how good "globalization" is, but progress in child mortality has slowed drastically in recent decades [4]. Diminishing returns is not a convincing argument for the slowdown because rich countries have achieved much more rapid rates of reduction than China despite having much lower child mortality rates.


Joe Emersberger

[1] Mark Weisbrot, Dean Baker, Egor Kraev, Judy Chen, "The Scorecard on Globalization 1980-2000: Twenty Years of diminished Progress", Center For Economic and Policy Research, Washington DC

[2] Ha-Joon Chang, "Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective", Anthem Press, 2002, London

[3] 2001 UNICEF State of the World's Children; World Bank, World Development Indicators 2001.

U5MR 1960 1970 1980 1990 1999
RICH COUNTRIES 37 26 14 9 6

RICH COUNTRY (% reduction per year)
1960-69 1970-79 1980-89 1990-99
3.47 6.00 4.32 4.41

Developing World U5MR/ RICH Country U5MR
1960 1970 1980 1990 1999
DEVELOPING / RICH 6.0 6.4 9.6 10.1 15.0

Based on data from UNICEF and World Bandk noted above

If inequality had not increased since 1980 the developing world's U5MR would have been 58, rather than 90. Therefore 6.4 million deaths wold have occurred in 1999 rather than 10,000,000.

[4] Trends in Child Mortality in the Developing World: 1960-1996:Kenneth Hill, Rohini Pande, Mary Mahy, Johns Hopkins University, Gareth Jones, UNICEF

U5MR (Child mortality under 5: deaths per 1000 live births)

CHINA 1960 1970 1980 1990 1996
225 117 59 44 47

CHINA (% Reduction per year)
1960-70 1970-80 1980-90 1990-96
6.33 6.62 2.89 -1.11
Tue Mar 16, 2004 5:14 am
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