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Globalisation

Mounting evidence of reductions in global income equality and poverty
Global poverty rates have fallen dramatically over the last 25 years according to a new paper by Xavier Sala-i-Martin from Columbia University---from 20 to 5 per cent using the $1-a-day measure and from 44 to 18 per cent using the $2-a-day measure. The paradoxically titled paper The Disturbing "Rise" of Global Income Inequality also finds that there is no evidence to be seen of rising inequalities, with substantial reductions in across-country income disparities, substantially driven by increase in incomes in China, and offsetting small increases within countries. However, the report cautions that unless Africa starts growing in the near future, income inequalities are projected to rise. The paper can be purchased on the National Bureau of Economic Research Website. (Go to: http://www.nber.org/) (June 2002).

Why global capitalism works---new book
A new book by Johan Norberg from the Timbro Institute in Stockholm examines how global capitalism has worked to produce benefits for society and the swiftest reduction in hunger and poverty in human history.

The title is In Defence of Global Capitalism and is available in English from the Institute of Economic Affairs, London. (See http://www.iea.org.uk/ for details). (April 2002)

World wealth gap narrows
A new report published by the Australian Government shows that the global wealth gap narrowed over the last decade. The shrinking of the gap in East Asia, the Pacific, North Africa and the Middle East outweighs a small widening in Latin America and the Caribbean. Countries which opened their economies enjoyed the biggest rise in living standards. See www.dfat.gov.au/publications/globe_poverty/index.html

This report seems to contradict the UN development report which is regularly cited to show that the gap is widening. How comparisons of wealth are measured is vital. With the steady increase in value of the US dollar against other currencies in recent years, the gap when denominated is US dollars widens rapidly. This does not reflect the real situation. The World Bank uses Product Pricing Parity (PPP) which assesses what can be bought in local currency. A currency may devalue against the US dollar, but most products inside a country are paid for by local currency. They do not fall in price because the US dollar appreciates.

The Australian report follows careful analysis of PPP values and shows that the real situation is that the wealth gap is narrowing. This tallies with reports by the World Bank that the share of people in absolute poverty in the world is shrinking. It reports that the number in absolute poverty in Indonesia fell from 75 per cent of the population in 1950 to 25 per cent in 1995. Those below the poverty line in India fell from 57 per cent of the population in 1973 to 35 per cent in 1998. See www.worldbank.org/poverty/wdrpoverty This link contains the 2000 World Development report which deals with globalization and poverty. A related report by the UK Department for International Development can be found on www.dfid.gov.uk/

Globalisation reduces poverty in developing countries
A new research report by the World Bank, Globalisation, Growth and Poverty: Building an Inclusive World Economy, shows that in developing countries that have integrated into the world economy, globalisation has helped reduce poverty, whilst in those that have failed to do so, poverty has increased. The study reveals that 24 developing economies that successfully integrated into the world economy in the last 20 years achieved higher growth in incomes, longer life expectancy and better schooling. They enjoyed, on average, a growth rate in income of 5% per capita compared with 2% in rich countries. Less globalised countries such as sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, on average, experienced a rise in poverty and negative growth rates. The report puts forward a plan of action for helping all developing countries take better advantage of the benefits of globalisation.

Globalisation delivers benefits to developing countries
A new statistical study by the WTO on globalisation has found significant economic and social benefits have accrued to developing countries in the last decade. Major findings include:

  • GDP growth in developing economies ranged from 7.5% in Asia and the Pacific to 3 % in sub-Saharan Africa in 2000, and for the period 1999-2000 was on average 4.5%. This compares with GDP growth of 3.4 % in Europe, 1.5 % in Japan and 4.1% in the US for 2000 and average growth for the world as a whole at 2.8% between 1999 and 2000.
  • In trade, while all regions reported faster than nominal trade growth, exports and imports of developing countries expanded by more than 20%, lifting their share in world trade in goods to its highest level in 50 years. The least-developed countries also shared in this trade expansion, with their GDP and trade growth exceeding the global average, although there were divergent results by country. Over the last 10 years, developing countries have consistently outperformed the industrialised countries in terms of export growth at an average of 10% compared with 5%.
  • There were increases in life expectancy between 1980 and 1999 for low-income countries by 6 years to 59 years. Illiteracy rates also fell between 1990 and 1999, in low-income countries by about 7% for adults and between 5% and 13% for youth. Child mortality rates also fell.
  • Between 1990 and 2000 access to improved sanitation facilities in low-income countries improved by 11% in rural areas and 7% for the rural population. More than 96% of all nations have sufficient water resources. Water accessibility has increased per person on all continents.
    The Study can be found at www.wto.org/trade_resources/statistic/stats.htm

    New Guide to the Globalization debate: www.globalisationguide.org
    There is a vast amount of material available on globalization issues. With riots in many countries, the issue of globalization has clearly become emotional. It can take a great deal of time to establish the points of view and the facts of the matter. A new Website guide to the globalization debate has been established by the Australian APEC Centre at Monash University, Melbourne.http://www.globalisationguide.org/provides a summary of key questions and a guide to sources with brief descriptions of the outlook of key participants. It is a genuine effort to be even-handed and has been commended by international commentators for being so.
  • Events

    WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
    Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August - 4 September, 2002
    http://www.johannesburgsummit.org/


    SPECIAL TRADE NEGOTIATION SESSIONS
    The following WTO Committees will be meeting in 2002:
    Trade and Development:16 September, 7 & 9 October, 6 December
    Trade in Services:28 - 31 October, 1 November, 9 & 11 - 13 December
    Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights:20 September, 28 November
    Agriculture: 2 - 4, 23 - 25 & 27 September, 18 - 20 & 22 November

    ARAB WORLD COMPETITIVENESS MEETING
    World Economic Forum, Geneva, Switzerland, 8 - 9 September 2002

    57TH UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
    10 September 2002

    NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR AFRICA'S DEVELOPMENT (NEPAD)
    United Nations, New York, 16 September 2002

    EUROPEAN ECONOMIC SUMMIT
    World Economic Forum, Salzburg, Austria, 16 - 17 September 2002

    INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY GENERAL CONFERENCE
    Vienna, Austria, September 16 - 20 2002

    NEW AGENDA FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICA IN THE 1990s (UN-NADAF)
    United Nations, New York, 24 - 26 September 2002 and 7 - 11 October 2002

    WORLD FREE TRADE ZONES EXPO
    India, 30 September to 2 October 2002

    ASSEMBLIES OF THE MEMBER STATES OF THE WIPO
    World Intellectual Property Organisation, Geneva, September 23 to October 1, 2002
    http://www.wipo.int/


    BIOTECHNOLOGY FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE
    OECD, Lisbon, Portugal, 6 - 8 October, 2002

    IMF AND WORLD BANK
    Annual Meeting, Washington DC, 1 - 2 October, 2002

    EAST ASIA ECONOMIC SUMMIT
    World Economic Forum, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 6 - 8 October, 2002

    GENETIC RESOURCES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
    FAO, Rome, Italy, 14 - 18 October 2002
    http://www.fao.org/


    GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT FACILITY (GEF) ASSEMBLY
    Beijing, China, 16 - 18 October 2002

    FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
    UNFCCC COP 8, New Delhi, India, October 23 - November 1 2002
    unfccc.int


    MICROCREDIT SUMMIT +5
    RESULTS Educational Fund, New York, 10 - 13 November, 2002

    LATIN AMERICAN BUSINESS SUMMIT
    World Economic Forum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 20 - 22 November 2002

    CLIMATE POLICY FOR THE LONGER TERM: FROM HERE TO WHERE?
    Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, UK, 21 - 22 November, 2002

    INDIA ECONOMIC SUMMIT
    World Economic Forum, New Delhi, India, 24 - 26 November 2002

    REVIEW OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION
    CRIC-1, 18 - 29 November, 2002
    http://www.unccd.int/


    BASEL CONVENTION
    COP-6, Geneva, Switzerland, 9 - 13 December, 2002
    http://www.basel.int/


    GLOBALISATION AND EQUITY
    Global Development Network, Egypt, 19 - 21 January, 2003
    http://www.gdnet.org/


    WTO MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE
    Cancun, Mexico, 10 - 14 September 2003



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