Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Better But Still Terrible

The Wall Street Journal hits this one on the head for both content and headline. Poverty and inequality in Latin America have gone down but people live on a razor's edge:

Since 1995, extreme poverty, defined as individuals earning less than $2.50 per day, has been cut in half, to 13% from 26%, according to World Bank figures. The drop comes with a major caveat: “The largest segment of the region’s population still remains vulnerable to falling back into poverty, with 40% of the population living with incomes above the poverty line” of $4 per day.

I don't consider myself a glass half empty person, but rather from years of studying Latin America it's obvious that proclaiming success is a dangerous game. Everyone wants to do so badly--Chavistas and free marketeers alike feel a pressing need to prove that their ideas have resolved long-standing challenges and therefore are superior.

Just yesterday Gabe Aguilera tweeted in response to my blog post about Enrique Krauze's op-ed, and it applies here too:

@aguilera1: @GregWeeksUNCC Things are bad. Especially in Central America and the Caribbean Basin. Paradoxically, they have also never been better...

In other words, better but still terrible.


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