Wednesday, December 13, 2006

global convergence

One of the enduring myths of globalization is that it is exacerbating the gap between rich and poor, the global have's and the have-not's. For many critics the defining weakness of globalization and its inherent constituent (capitalism) is that it is primarily a mechanism for the rich to get richer and the poor, poorer.

The latest is a series of reports to debunk this myth comes courtesy of a World Bank report issued today. In his summary of the report, Peron points out that the World Bank's projections are condsidered to be "fairly impervious to all but the most severe and sustained shocks". At the same time the report indicates that "the possibility exists that the world will be even better than envisioned... thanks possibly to unanticipated technological improvements, more innovation in business processes that allow for an acceleration of globalization and widespread adoptions of good policies within countries."

Yes these are projections but they are based on the empirical data from the past 25 years: the period in which advances in information technology have created the present era of globalization. Clearly, globalization is leading to global convergence in income and an all-round increase in wealth. I'm not sure I see the problem (moral or practical) with that.

Another instance where those pesky empirical data refute the myths critics want to use to frame discussion and direct public policy.