Friday, November 18, 2005

Disappearing Middle Class

Pain in the Middle , By David Rothkopf, Newsweek International, November 21, 2005 issue

In his article, Rothkopf criticizes the international financial institutions for not using formulas that would build the middle class in poor nations. He notes that only four nations in the past four decades- South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan - have been able to move to the level the World Bank classifies as "high income nations", with per capita gross national incomes (GNI) of more than $10,066. He cites World Bank economist Branko Milanovic's book, "World's Apart" to illustrate how generally the poorest nations have gotten poorer, while the richest nations have remained rich. Political instability and civil conflict have resulted in declining incomes in the Caribbean, Latin American, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Africa, by placing severe constraints in planning and development. Rothkopf suggests that development institutions shift their lending from governments to the people of poor nations to "allow the ranks of the most economically vulnerable to grow."

[W]e among the privileged of the world need to recognize that even if, as Deng
Xiaoping once said, "to be rich is glorious," giving others the chance to simply
be comfortable and offer a better future for their children is the bedrock upon
which our collective futures must be built.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If countries like those in Africa or the Caribbean were allowed to build their wealth, there would be no people of color to exploit for sweatshop labor. It's not in the World Banks interest to help these countries out of debt.