Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Oxfam are wrong (again)


Oxfam are wrong.

OK this isn't a surprise since we're talking about a large, wealthy, powerful organisation that dedicates itself to keeping poor people poor (although they don't quite put it that way).

Oxfam are wrong:

Working For the Few, published ahead of this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, details the pernicious impact that widening inequality is having in both developed and developing countries, helping the richest undermine democratic processes and drive policies that promote their interests at the expense of everyone else. 

It all sounds good and caring. It reads like the good folk at Oxfam really do have the interests of "the world's poorest" at heart. The problem is that it's not inequality that's the problem, at least not in getting "the world's poorest" out of abject poverty.

I know this. And it's why Oxfam are wrong:

There you go Oxfam. While all those rich folk have been piling up the cash, billions of people who used to be really, really poor stopped being really really poor. OK, they're not as rich as us yet but far fewer of them - freed from the death sentence that is subsistence farming - are starving to death because they are too poor.

I know it's hard to admit. I know that Oxfam's world view doesn't allow for the idea that it's capitalism and free markets that get people out of poverty.

But it's true. We know it's true. Forty years of that awful 'neoliberalism' stuff shows us that it's true.

So, as I wrote last year when Oxfam published their "get into the papers ahead of Davos" report:

Sit back, put a smile on you face - punch the air with joy. You and me - capitalists both - have sat getting a little richer for thirteen years while a billion folk have escaped absolute poverty. All the international trade, all those businesses and those business folk filling the posh seats in aeroplanes flitting across the world - they've done that, they've lifted those people out of poverty.


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