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Why we don\’t let the English teachers do the economics

Mainstream accounts of poverty deliberately avoid a historical understanding of how the poor came to be poor,

This is to get the question entirely bass ackwards.

Poverty (unless you get a truly moronic leader like Mugabe or Castro) isn\’t something which is created. It just is.

From the Roman Empire to 1700 average global GDP per capita wiggled around between $400 and $800. We were in a Malthusian economy.

From 1700 to today we\’ve gone from that figure to about $8,000 a head. And, as simple observation of the world will show you, that rise is rather concentrated. At first Western Europe, North America, but as other regions of the world have adopted the usual policies (some sort of security of property, some measure of economic freedom), from Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea to, at slightly lower levels Chile and Eastern Europe to at even lower levels but coming up fast places like China.

The central economic question is not how people came to be poor, not how poverty is created, for it isn\’t. It\’s how wealth is created, that wondrous process which pre-1700 really didn\’t happen to anybody (no, the elites, while fabulously wealthy in terms of the portion of wealth they controlled were, by our standards today, dirt poor) and now happens to any country which cares to take up the process which is the interesting and important question.

5 thoughts on “Why we don\’t let the English teachers do the economics”

  1. …..Why we don’t let the English teachers do the economics…..

    Judging by the comments, we shouldn’t let her teach English either…….

    ….I found it impossible to make any sense from what you wrote, it seems like random names and phrases thrown together for no reason.

    ….Maybe I’m just a thicko but is there an English translation available for this article? Its like someone has bunged a load of cliches and assumptions into a literary spin dryer.

  2. not to mention fact that every econ undergraduate is taught that colonialism destroyed economic institutions and that economics institutions determine poverty

  3. And there was me thinking that Leftist accounts of poverty “deliberately avoid a historical understanding of how the poor came to be poor”, with their myopic determination to fiddle with the symptoms (by redistributing wealth) rather than as Tim says, looking at how wealth is created and encouraging it (or, rather, not standing in its way).

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