As mentioned in the previous post the West has been fighting a losing battle against poverty – if you were to believe the media that is. Any gains made are instantly negated by fiddling with the definitions and statistics because it is the bad news that sell the papers. But there is at least one country in the World which has made spectacular gains in combatting poverty. In fact China’s success has been so impressive that, surely, even the Western media must appreciate the scale of the achievement. Let us now take a look at the actual numbers.
According to Wiki:
Between 1981 and 2008, the proportion of China’s population living on less than $1.25/day is estimated to have fallen from 85% to 13.1%, meaning that roughly 600 million people were taken out of poverty
So we are talking about more that the entire population of the EU lifted out of poverty in under 30 years. The humanitarian dimension of allowing so many people to live life not affected by extreme financial hardship is mind boggling. One would think that China should get the credit they deserve for this monumental achievement. If pouring billions into Africa without much result is still viewed in the West as a worthwhile exercise then watching a spectacular success in the fight against poverty without having made any financial contribution to it must be so much more satisfying – must it not?
“I’ve seen rich people, on TV, living in nice houses, driving fancy cars,” he says, a grin exposing his missing teeth. “I dream about having that kind of life. But I know it’s just a dream.”
“I’ve seen, in the city, people living in big houses, in such nice skyscrapers,” he says, “but if you look around here, the houses are just wood and bricks. It’s not fair. I’ve been to the cities and seen bosses eating in fancy restaurants every day. They’re rich. My life doesn’t compare. If I had a lot of money I wouldn’t mind spending it on an expensive meal too. But I don’t. My heart aches when I spend money because I have so little of it.” Lu Dayi is one of over 150 million Chinese in the countryside still living below the poverty line – officially set at around $1.5 a day.
One and a half million Chinese are now dollar millionaires. And the country has an estimated 250 billionaires, up from just 15 in 2006. This part of China’s society has joined the global rich league. They dress in designer outfits that cost more money than Lu Dayi in his village has had in his lifetime.
If this bitter rant were the best the BBC have managed to come up with in relation to China’s stunning success in fighting poverty I would be very disappointed so let us keep looking:
Still, the same poll, which had a disproportionately urban sample in China, highlights the extent to which many Chinese are struggling to cope with the side effects of economic growth. Six in 10 describe inflation as a very serious problem.
Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation in China in 2012 was 2.6% so I do not know why 6 in 10 Chinese saw it as such a problem
there is a consensus that some people are being left behind by China’s rapid growth – 81% of those polled agree that today the “rich just get richer while the poor get poorer”.
This is of course complete dross – the numbers are showing clearly that the poor are getting richer and I am surprised that the BBC did not challenge this populist nonsense.
Since we did not get much by means of balanced reporting from the BBC let us now check The Guardian:
there are tens, perhaps several hundreds, of millions of losers after nearly 25 years of post-Mao reform. The gap between rich and poor has more than doubled in the same period.
The gap may or may not have doubled but that there is now 600 million less “poor” might also have been worth reporting.
The gulf between rich and poor in China is affecting growth by deterring consumption and holding down productivity, according to a report released by the United Nations Development Programme.
Why the UN Development Programme, instead of focusing on its own failed policies in Africa, has chosen to bag the success story of China is anyone’s guess.
The report, by authors from the China Institute for Reform and Development and other think-tanks, describes the nation’s progress over the past 30 years of reform as “a miracle in the history of poverty reduction”.
Thank you very much, The Guardian!