We’ve thus got to make a decision. Do we wish to have less absolute poverty or would we like a more equal country? The rich nations have, today, made the decision that more equality is more important. Europe quite happily taxes the rich a lot, knowing that this reduces economic growth, in order to redistribute to the poorer.
But do note that Europe has none of that $1.90 a day absolute poverty, it has passed through that stage. Even in the absence of redistribution, it still wouldn’t exist.
Bangladesh isn’t in that position. Even with more redistribution, there would still be that poverty — a more equal Bangladesh would still have it. But we might still say that greater equality is more important than poverty abolition.
Which is what AMA Muhith is telling us here. That the strategy is to work for that economic growth, not for the redistribution. Specifically, poverty removal is the policy, not poverty alleviation.
Let’s have enough economic growth that there just isn’t any more poverty at all. After that we can, if we want to, work on the equality part, on the redistribution and relative poverty.
Which is the thing that I agree with. There are varied problems and evils in this world but when I list them, the idea that some have more than others comes very much further down my list than the problem of some having near nothing.
Thus, to me, the solution is to gain that economic growth, as fast as we can, so that all have something before we worry about how much. That is, for a poor country, growth is the imperative.
Or, as I sometimes put it, worrying about inequality is something that only a rich country can afford to do.