Extreme poverty should be eradicated from the planet by 2050. Thank you who?

Is advocating degrowth as some do counter-productive on the poverty front?

Is advocating degrowth as some do counter-productive on the poverty front?


Growth my love

These are the predictions made by the Center for Global Development of how quickly poverty has fallen since 2000.

Atlantico: According to your report for the Center for Global Development (CGD), extreme poverty could finally be eradicated in the world by 2050. How do you explain that?

Charles Kenny : Our forecasting exercise looks at what we think is the likely rate of economic growth for the countries that are home to the world’s poorest people. If you assume there is no change in inequality (so the incomes of the poor are rising as fast as those of the rich), then the economic growth we expect is enough to raise the income of almost everyone. people in the world above the $2.15 “extreme poverty” line of 2050. But I must say that this is an optimistic forecast compared to the past – it depends on the fact that all which are home to significant numbers of the world’s poorest people are growing faster than the historical average. We think it’s possible, even probable, but by no means a certainty.

Why has extreme poverty been steadily declining for several decades and could it finally be virtually eradicated?

The most important factor has been economic growth. Greater income equality within countries also helps, and it’s a good thing for a host of other reasons. But what took us from a world where 80 or 90% of the world’s population lived on less than $2.15 a day to a world where less than 10% lived was global economic growth.

What would a world without extreme poverty look like?

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Fewer children go to bed hungry at night, stunted from lack of nutrition, more people live with better housing and better living conditions. But it would still be a world with many people with incomes below ten percent of the poverty lines of rich countries. It would still be a world with people dying of easily preventable causes, a world with a lot of injustice. Eradicating $2.15 poverty would be a good thing, but still very far from guaranteeing a decent quality of life for everyone on the planet.

In addition to the virtual eradication of extreme poverty, what would be the consequences of stronger economic growth globally – and particularly in developing economies?

People in countries with higher income levels also tend to live longer and healthier lives, enjoy better and more educational opportunities, more secure, more comfortable and better paying jobs, better housing , greater security from violence and stronger rights and freedoms. This association is not almost entirely related to the income causing these things – the relationship goes both ways – but it is a sign of what we might expect to see in a wealthier world.

Rathin Roy, executive director of the ODI global affairs think tank, said your predictions are possible “if everyone does the right thing”. What is the right thing to do?

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He is right. There is no certainty here. It depends on billions of people having a greater opportunity to transform their talents and lead better lives – higher incomes, more secure and more comfortable livelihoods. And that requires (and not least) that policymakers favor broad-based growth rather than preserving the advantages of the privileged, ensuring that people have access to education, health, infrastructure, financial tools, etc to succeed. Globally, this means rich countries opening their markets to goods and talent from the world’s low-income economies and providing funding to support the services people in those countries need.

Is advocating degrowth as some do counter-productive on the poverty front?

Yes. Slower growth means slower poverty reduction. That said, decrementers are right to fear that the way we currently consume as a planet is unsustainable. We need to further decouple the link between income growth and greenhouse gas emissions, for example (which has already begun). But it’s a challenge that needs to be addressed where the problem is greatest, among the people who use the most. It means people living in rich countries. We are the ones causing the problem, we are the ones who have to fix it.

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