Capitalism saving the world

Fraser Nelson writes in The Telegraph:

While overseas support has been crucial and highly effective in the struggle, the strongest force pushing back disease in the continent is capitalism; trade still brings in far more money than aid. Indoor smoke, dirty water and hunger still kill more Africans than malaria, so when a villager can afford rudimentary sanitation and healthcare, the effect on disease is profound.

A recent African Union conference set a two-year deadline to turn the whole continent into a free-trade area. This is no mere fantasy: since the beginning of the century, the value of trade between African countries has risen five times over; mobile phones are now as common in Nigeria and South Africa as they are in Britain.

A free trade zone within Africa – a very good idea. Wealth for Africa will  come from trade, not charity (but charity is needed for now).

Bill Gates’s charitable foundation has played a full role in the battle against malaria. It does not rely on pulling heartstrings to gain support, so he is free of any need to spin a tale of Africa in meltdown. Instead, he talks about “mind-blowing” progress being made before our eyes. On current trends, he says, there will be almost no poor countries left within 20 years.

If this sounds like a wild exaggeration, it shouldn’t: all the data is pointing in this direction.

This is a story that is not told very often, but it is none the less the story of our age: globalisation is spreading ideas, medicine and wealth, forcing down inequality and bringing the world closer together.

With enough capitalism, might become history after all.

In 1990 over 40% of the world lived in extreme poverty, Today it is under 20% and shortly after 2020 it is projected to be under 10%. A remarkable change in just three decades.

Comments (41)

Login to comment or vote