Thursday, December 01, 2011

Have To Admit It's Getting Better

With the pervasive doom and gloom talk about the economic and societal decline of the United States and Europe, it's easy to overlook the remarkable progress that continues to be made in the developing world. Poverty Rates Fall In Latin America (WSJ-sub req):

While the U.S. and Europe struggle with weak economic growth, poverty rates in Latin America have fallen sharply in the past 20 years thanks to rising household incomes, the United Nations reported.

From 1990 to 2010, the poverty rate in Latin America dropped by 17 percentage points to 31.4% from 48.4%, according to the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The region has also made strides in reducing its notorious income inequality mostly thanks to a more equitable distribution of labor income as well as government cash transfer programs for the needy, the agency said in its annual review of the region.

"Poverty and inequality continue to decline in the region, which is good news, particularly in the midst of an international economic crisis," said Alicia Barcena, head of the agency, in a statement.

In absolute terms, the region still has 174 million inhabitants who live in poverty, but that is well below the peak of 225 million in 2002, the agency said.

The drops in both the rate and absolute numbers of people in poverty in Latin America are impressive and are matched if not superceded by similar progress against poverty in Asia. Parts of Africa have also shown positive trends in recent years after decades in which in seemed the continent was doomed to never escape the mire. While the economies of the West appear to have entered a era of stangnation and limited growth, much of the rest of the world continues to move grow and more and more people are being lifted out of poverty. That's good news that we should not ignore.