When Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (20 January) laments the rich, she is seemingly oblivious that by her own country’s standards she is rich, and by developing countries’ standards fantastically rich.
According to the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World report, the income earned by the poorest 10 per cent of individuals in economically free societies ($11,610) is almost twice the average GDP per capita of people living in the least free nations ($6,253).
If you are poor, the best place to be is in economically free societies such as Britain, as opposed to despotisms such as Zimbabwe, the Republic of Congo, and, increasingly, my home country of South Africa. We see millions trying to escape countries controlled by overbearing states to seek refuge in the richest and the most economically free nations.
Although the income gap within many developed nations may have widened over the past thirty years, the disparity in world income inequality has lessened. This is mainly due to the rapid economic growth that has been occurring in developing countries with big populations, such as India and China, which are following more market-orientated policies.
According to the United Nations, in 1990 approximately 47 per cent of people lived on less than $1.25 a day. By 2010, this figure had plummeted to 22 per cent. Thanks to the free-market policies that Ms Alibhai-Brown so clearly despises, the world is on the cusp of a historic feat – the complete eradication of poverty.