Magazine article Tikkun

Celebrating Capitalism's Global Success

Magazine article Tikkun

Celebrating Capitalism's Global Success

Article excerpt

WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF A TRANSFORMATIONAL shift of economic, financial, political and (ultimately) military power from the United States to a new generation of nations: China, India, Russia, Brazil, the Persian Gulf states and others. This shift reflects an era of extraordinary historic progress in reducing levels of global poverty, and it also reflects a massive shift of the relative share of total global wealth from wealthy nations to historically poorer nations. The United States represented almost 50% of global economic activity after the end of the second World War; it now represents less than 30% of global economic activity and that percentage will be inevitably dropping further in the coming years.

No longer are we confronting a world where five of the six billion humans living on earth are in abject, less-than-$2-aday poverty. That's the old narrative. We are now in a world where five of the six billion humans on earth are on a predictable rising economic arc. That isn't the end of poverty by any means, but it is to say that striking progress on global poverty is occurring. And it is occurring because more nations are embracing global trade and the international financial system.

This rapid and broad extension of global prosperity is good for America. Continuing this progress requires continued attention to certain critical actions. First, we should extend the benefits of free trade by phasing out the subsidies paid by Europe and the United States to their agricultural sectors, subsidies which harm subsistence farmers in the poorest nations of the world. second, governments and private investors must accelerate efforts to reduce the dependence of the world on oil. It has been estimated that over $1.5 trillion a year in wealth is transferring from oil-consuming nations to oil-producing nations (some ofthat wealth is financing terrorists). That wealth transfer is proving to be a drag against the economic rise of the low and middle class families in oil-consuming nations around the world. Third, the international community must continue its efforts to eliminate the corruption in the governments of poor nations (take Myanmar, for example).

What is the political reaction to this decline in poverty around the world here in the United States? Strikingly, the very "progressive" elites that championed a war against global poverty are now reacting with alarm because they see the growth in third-world wealth as coming at the expense of low and middle income families in America. …

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