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ARE THE PLUTOCRATS REALLY BUILDING

 US A HEAVEN ON EARTH?

OR A LIVING HELL?

EXAMINING THE FACTS

Leaders like Bill Gates and Obama assure us that things have never been better under their wise leadership.

While things have been getting better for some, we will say that the way poverty is currently measured is misleading, since poverty is not an exact science. Another variable that must be taken into account is the cost of environmental destruction. So even if today's economic world order is making things better for some, is it sustainable in the long-term?

Recently, the billionaire Bill Gates submitted an infographic on Twitter claiming to show that extreme global poverty has plummeted since 1820, with 94 percent living in poverty 200 years ago compared with just 10 percent today.

Anthropologist and author Jason Hickel has publicly spoken out on Bill Gates' claim, as well as the claims of the United Nations.

"The idea that the free-market capitalism has grown while solving the crisis of extreme poverty around the world may be tempting for some to embrace", Hickel wrote in the Guardian—but it is "completely wrong."

Hickel points out that people simply needed relatively little money to survive and thrive in 1820.

"The global population as a whole hasn't gained more wealth in the last 200 years", he wrote—instead, "the world went from a situation where most of humanity had no need of money at all to one where today most of humanity struggles to survive on extremely small amounts of money," with much of the world having endured "a process of dispossession that bulldozed people into the capitalist labor system." (Common Dreams)

He further explains that as European colonizers forced their capitalist system upon the global south, millions lost control over their land and were forced "into European-owned mines, factories, and plantations, where they were paid paltry wages for work they never wanted to do in the first place"—all for the benefit of the rich. (Common Dreams)

Hickel also points out that the United Nations has an unrealistic view of true poverty, since they are using the definition of the poverty line as $1.90 per day.

Hickel wrote that this poverty line is "obscenely low by any standard, and we now have piles of evidence that people living just above this line have terrible levels of malnutrition and mortality." (Common Dreams)

On Twitter, Hickel suggested Gates would likely show less enthusiasm for the number of people subsisting on $1.90 per day if he had experienced such poverty in today's economy—or anything close to it—himself.

 

ABOUT ANTHROPOLOGIST JASON HICKEL

About Jason Hickel   Jason Hickel Blog   Jason Hickel Aljazeera Articles   Twitter

The Divide: Global Inequality from Conquest to Free Markets (Book on Amazon)

 

GLOBAL POVERTY

A Letter to Steven Pinker (And Bill Gates, For That Matter) About Global Poverty

Anthropologist Debunks Bill Gates' BS Narrative That Free-Market Capitalism Has Solved Crisis of Global Poverty (Common Dreams, 2-1-19)

Bill Gates says poverty is decreasing. He couldn’t be more wrong - Jason Hickel (The Guardian, 1-29-19)

Did we really reduce extreme poverty by half in 30 years? (Politifact, 3-23-16)

Exposing the great 'poverty reduction' lie (Aljazeera, 8-21-14)

 

ENVIRONMENTAL

New UN report finds almost no industry profitable if environmental costs were included (Exposing Truth, 4-9-15) REPORT

Climate Change Will Cost U.S. More in Economic Damage Than Any Other Country But One (Inside Climate News, 9-24-18)

White House admits Trump climate policies will cost Americans $500 billion a year (Think Progress, 11-24-18)

Industrial scars: The environmental cost of consumption – in pictures (The Guardian, 10-24-16)

Energy Poverty And Its Human Costs (The Huffington Post, 10-6-16)