Thank you for this piece, Linda.
This stunning finding, developed by economist Max Roser of Our World in Data, certainly casts billionaires in a more sympathetic light, as mere byproducts of an economic system that has significantly helped the world’s people, lifting most of humanity out of poverty. - Linda McQuaig
Ironically, efforts that are purportedly aimed at promoting ‘evidence based reasoning’ are lending support to Trump’s demonization of socialism. This is true even among many Ph.D.'s in the sciences, engineering, economics, business. political science, and other disciplines. Roser’s work, Hans Rosling’s work (see: ‘Factfulness - : Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think’ ), Steven Piker’s work (https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_is_the_world_getting_better_or_worse_a_look_at_the_numbers?language=en) , and the work of others who purport to present ‘objective’ ‘unbiased’ facts, either explicitly or implicitly trash Piketty’s analysis on the grounds that capitalism has improved the lives of the majority of the people in the world. As Ryan Young, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute puts it:
In fact, the current rate of human betterment for the poor is unprecedented in all of human history, from the invention of fire to the Agricultural Revolution to the Industrial Revolution to the present day. Piketty, Saez, Zucman, and other conventional scholars focus instead on the top one percent’s income ratio compared the middle and bottom percentiles of income distribution—which, again, isn’t actually distributed by anybody. Why not focus instead on how to make the worst off better off? https://cei.org/blog/ratios-not-people-wrong-approach-inequality
Yes, the quality of life has improved for more people on earth over the last several hundred years. But the improvements in health, agriculture, technology, are purely the results of capitalism. And, while fewer proportions of people live in abject poverty, about half of the world live with unacceptably poor conditions - health care, sanitation, energy, work, etc… It is also important to point out false assumptions of the data on poverty (such as use of fixed income levels over time, the use of logarithmic income scales, and denial of the anti-democratic nature of wealth).