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The Left Is Wrong: The Big Lie About Poverty

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This story is exclusive content for subscribers of The Western Journal.

In just a few years, extreme poverty — the most severe type of poverty wherein people are unable to meet their most basic needs — could be all but extinct across the entire world.

That is, as long as the left accepts the reason why.

Researchers Ronald Bailey and Marian L. Tupy detailed the soon-to-be extinction in the 2020 book “Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know.”

According to the pair, most of history saw the majority of our ancestors live and die in absolute poverty. After many centuries, things began to improve.

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In 1820, 84 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. By 1910, that number had dropped to 66 percent, and by 1950, 55 percent.

As the world entered the 21st century, the unbelievable happened. By 2018, only 8.6 percent of the world lived in extreme poverty.

The United Nations believes extreme poverty may be virtually eliminated by 2030.

So, what prompted this abrupt turnaround?

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At around the same time, towards the end of the 18th century, industrial capitalism was born. According to German historian Rainer Zitelmann, this was no coincidence.

In fact, in an article for Forbes, Zitelmann credited this era of capitalism with increasing global life expectancy, reducing world hunger and improving global environmental conditions.

“Capitalism is not the problem, as anti-capitalists tell us,” Zitelmann wrote. “In fact, it is capitalism that has very successfully solved many of the world’s most serious problems over the last two centuries.”

Indeed, despite these many strides and their obvious associations with capitalism, many on the left have lamented the Industrial Revolution and the tidal wave of free markets that followed it. In their view, this period saw a disturbing rise in wealth inequality.

To this day, even the brightest stars of the left bemoan capitalism. Take Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for example. AOC once claimed capitalism is “not a redeemable system for us to be able to participate in for the prosperity and peace for the vast majority of people.”

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Even though the historical record of the past 200 years unequivocally proves that capitalism works for “the vast majority of people,” there’s no need to point to history to debunk AOC’s claim. Even today, all one has to do is point out the most impoverished countries. As it turns out, these are the countries with the least economic freedom.

World Population Review finds the following 10 countries have the highest poverty rates in the world:

  1. South Sudan: 82.30 percent
  2. Equatorial Guinea: 76.80 percent
  3. Madagascar: 70.70 percent
  4. Guinea-Bissau: 69.30 percent
  5. Eritrea: 69.00 percent
  6. Sao Tome and Principe: 66.70 percent
  7. Burundi: 64.90 percent
  8. Democratic Republic of the Congo: 63.90 percent
  9. Central African Republic: 62.00 percent
  10. Guatemala: 59.30 percent

Eight of these 10 countries rank either “mostly unfree” or “repressed” on The Heritage Foundation’s 2022 Index of Economic Freedom, a measure of how much control individuals have over their own labor and property (in other words, a measure of how capitalist each country is). The two outliers, Guatemala and Sao Tome and Principe, rank in the bottom half of countries that are “moderately free.”

Countries ranked “free” and “mostly free” boast far lower poverty rates.

The only notable exception to this rule is the communist country of China, which, despite being listed as one of the most repressed countries economically, also has one of the lowest poverty rates.

Anti-capitalists shouldn’t exactly see this as a win — despite exercising ownership over the means of production, since the 1990s the Chinese Communist Party has encouraged private enterprise and utilized free markets in order to bolster the economy.

The U.S. performs somewhat well in terms of both its poverty rate — 18 percent — and its economic freedom — “mostly free.” However, things could be better if private businesses and individuals were allowed even greater levels of freedom.

But Democrats like AOC and even President Joe Biden seem to be actively promoting and pursuing policies that further restrict these freedoms through regulation, taxes and other means.

In an interview with The Western Journal, Zitelmann said U.S. citizens should avoid complacency. If freedom is not defended, it can disappear in an instant.

Venezuela, for example, was once a democracy with one of the highest standards of living in the world, thanks to its abundance of valuable resources. Then came the socialists who, in a few short years, ran the country “into the abyss, robbing it of its freedom and prosperity.”

The very same thing happened to Argentina.

“100 years ago, Argentina was one of the five richest countries in the world. Then came the Peronists with their redistribution policy, and no country in 100 years has declined as much as Argentina,” Zitelmann wrote.

“In other words, there is no guarantee that a rich country will remain rich, not even the USA.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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