Increasing wealth?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Jul 17 08:36:23 MDT 2003

This twentieth century has been above all the century of increasing wealth.

No previous era we know of has seen anything like the proportional
growth in material, economic wealth--in the productivity of workers and
the standards of living of consumers--that the twentieth century saw in
the industrialized democracies that make up the core of the world
economy. No previous era and no previous economy has seen anything like
the level of material wealth and productive potential attained by the
twentieth century's economy.

Brad DeLong


Growing World Poverty and Conflict
Shows the Barbarity of Capitalism

By David Mitchell PCS Representative Home Office Group (Personal Capacity)

The 1990's has seen a huge increase in poverty around the globe. The gap
between the rich and the poor is getting wider, and if current trends
continue then it will be the year 2147 before areas such as Sub-Saharan
Africa can hope to halve the number of people in poverty.

The statistics, which are from the World Bank and the UN paint an
alarming catalogue of human misery, degradation and death. That is the
reality of capitalism in the developing world. Ironically it is the very
policies of institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF which are
forcing whole countries to adopt the bankrupt and corrupt policies of
privatization and the opening up of markets to the plunder of
multi-national companies that is making the situation worse. For the
developing world the Guardian newspaper calls the 1990's the lost
decade. I would argue that the working class, and the masses
internationally have lost the entire 20th Century and the beginning of
the 21st because of the absolute failure of capitalism to advance the
mass of humanity.

The figures are disturbing:

--54 countries saw the decline of average incomes during the whole of
the 1990's

--21 countries actually went backwards in terms of human development,
which is measured by income, life expectancy and literacy.

--On a daily basis 30,000 children die from illnesses which are totally

--Annually, 500,000 women, that is one for every minute of every day die
in pregnancy or childbirth.

--In the 1990's alone 13 million children were killed by diarrhoea which
equates to more than the entire number of people killed in all armed
conflicts since World War II.

--In Zimbabwe the average life expectancy has gone down from 56 in the
early 1970's to 33.1 during the 1990's. In the UK life expectancy rose
from 72 to 78.2 in the same period.

--In Sierra Leone 363 children in every 1000 or over 1 third do not
reach their fifth birthday. Just as a comparison in Norway only four
children in 1000 do not survive or just 0.4%.

These disturbing facts come from the United Nations Annual Development
report which saw more than 50 countries have a decline in living
standards during the 1990's.



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