It is hard
to believe we have entered the second decade of the 21st century. The hope and
promise of the new millennium seem to be giving way to political rancor and
societal angst. The growing political divide that epitomizes the American
political landscape is not unique. From the UK to Chile to Hong Kong social
unrest is just under the surface and boils over quite unexpectedly.
As elements of society look for causes for their anxiety more and more are blaming capitalism. They see it as corrupt, misogynistic and privileged. What they don’t see, despite its failings, is the tremendous benefit that capitalism, including globalism, has bestowed on humanity.
Capitalism in its various its forms and fashions has grown over the last 200 years and grown exponentially in the last 30 years with the integration of globalism. From Europe to North America to Southeast Asia more people are living under various forms of capitalism than any other economic model. Consider these few astounding facts cited by Human Progress
- The proportion of the world population in extreme poverty, i.e. who consume less than $1.90 a day, adjusted for local prices, declined from 36 percent in 1990 to 10 percent in 2015.
- At the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000, the world’s countries set the goal of halving the 1990 incidence of extreme poverty by 2015. This was met more than five years ahead of deadline.
- However, when Americans were asked what had happened to global poverty the last 20 years, only 5 percent answered that it had halved; 66 percent thought it had doubled.
The world has never seen such progress, yet more and more people are blaming capitalism and globalism. How can this be? For one, bad news sells and the more extreme the bad news the more it sells. The media and politicians use the bad news to grab the public’s attention. The media sells more and the politicians, on both the left and right, use the bad news to seize power.
Of course, we have many more problems to solve ranging from healthcare to climate change to income inequality. However, if we focus only on the remaining problems, we will fail to recognize the very system that has brought humanity so much progress.
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