Free Markets

Back On Earth, Actual 99% Doing Better Than Ever

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Catholic churches and palm trees are sure signs of economic stagnation, yet Equatorial Guinea saw its GDP quadruple over ten years.

It's clear that the Occupy protests cropping up in every city in the world will soon cover the entire planet in a War Games-style surge of expanding Ground Zeros that will transform all politics and economics, bringing a new era of social justice and income equality. 

But just in case that doesn't happen, here's some good news for the wealthy and entitled Occupiers: In the last decade nearly 2.6 billion people enjoyed dramatic expansions in wealth. It turns out the economic armacatastromeltdown has been a problem mainly for the fantastically rich, overfed, debt-happy, free-spending, spoiled, lazy, infantilized nations of the west. It's been a different story for people with experience of real rather than academic poverty. In Foreign Policy, the Center for Global Development's Charles Kenny reports that 19 economies doubled in size between 2000 and 2010: 

At the same time, the top 19 countries in the world in terms of decade-long growth saw their GDPs more than double over the ten years from 2000 to 2010. And that top 19 included some really big countries—not least India and China—so nearly 2.6 billion people benefited from all of that economic dynamism.

Just as significantly, Africa has been going gangbusters—though you probably haven't noticed, since the whole region of 49 countries still has a combined economy smaller than the state of Texas. Yet within the club of economies that doubled in size were no less than eight from sub-Saharan Africa, the region traditionally written off as a hopeless economic backwater. Indeed, that region took 17 of the top 40 spots in the decade's global GDP growth rankings; its GDP is 66 percent larger than it was in 2000. Populations have expanded there, too, by around 28 percent over the decade—but even accounting for more people, the average income in the region is about a third higher than it was 10 years ago.

Kenny notes that these excellent performances do not seem to be correlated with trade liberalizations, credit shenanigans, inter-governmental "free trade" agreements or any of the other Yanqui-mandated solutions that are supposed to bring prosperity to the developing world. In fact, Iraq, the U.S. test case for the forward strategy of freedom, came in last place in the World Bank's rankings. And many citizens of sub-Saharan African countries have not shared in this rapid growth, thanks to the lousy governments Melinda Ammann wrote about in Reason midway through this awesome and unacknowledged expansion of global wealth. 

"However weak U.S. economic performance looks in comparison," Kenny writes, "Americans should be cheering on these countries to another decade of record growth." 

Yeah, that's not gonna happen

Courtesy of Dayo Olopade.

Speaking of the 99-percent-of-the-1-percenters, there's been a lot of talk lately about who spawned the Occupy movement's central idea. Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz has been credited for birthing the 1 percent idea in a May article for Vanity Fair (this generation's The Masses). Deceitful Harvard Marxist Elizabeth Warren has also been trying to claim authorship. 

Well I happen to have a copy of Gore Vidal's memoir Palimpsest, which was written in 1995, before the laying of the transatlantic telegraph. And on page 221, Vidal polishes off a rant against the nouveau riche developer who had the temerity to buy his boyhood mansion in the Washington area with this odd phrase: 

If the 1 percent that own the country spend their money in this way…

Later on that page, Vidal has another comment on life in pre-Bushitler Amerikkka that will seem either prescient or commonplace depending on how long your attention span is: 

[W]e have made so many enemies all around the world that, in the name of terrorism, a quite effective police state has ever so gradually replaced the old republic. 

Good stuff, in a sporadically entertaining book. 

NEXT: Former Ohio Congressman's Lawsuit Will Proceed in Federal Court -- in Spite of the First Amendment

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  1. “…in the name of terrorism, a quite effective police state has ever so gradually replaced the old republic.”

    Damned if he wasn’t right.

  2. “people with experience of real rather than academic poverty”

    Awesome, you get ’em Tim

    1. I think Tim may have gotten around to reading Ron’s work.

  3. Catholic churches and palm trees are sure signs of economic stagnation, yet Equatorial Guinea saw its GDP quadruple over ten years.

    I would rather be poor in Latin America then in Africa or the middle east.

    Equatorial Guinea IS in Africa you say….

    Damn you Cavanaugh! damn you to hell.

    ….

    Gratz Catholic Africa. Never knew you even existed.

    1. And here I would have bet my bottom dollar that you had Arinze in the next-Pope pool. Or the dead pool. Or both.

      1. I see you’re drinking the same Protestant Work Ethic kool-aid that Max Weber is selling, damn his proddie hide.

      2. If I saw him I would have guessed he was from Haiti….

    2. Catholic churches and palm trees are sure signs of economic stagnation…

      Exhibit A: California.

  4. “However weak U.S. economic performance looks in comparison,” Kenny writes, “Americans should be cheering on these countries to another decade of record growth.”

    The fuck? We meant we’re standing for the 99% of Americans that have to suffer the indignity of being useful in order to succeed in life.

    Screw all those dirty brown and yellow people that are taking our jobs!

  5. Is this Tim’s mandatory Koch-sucking post for the week?

    Warren’s a Deceitful Harvard Marxist? Yeah, fuck people who went to a better college than you, and fuck and the actual meaning of words.

    You’re not really poor unless you’re living in Cameroon? Yeah, homeless children in America should just move to New Guinea where housing prices are more affordable.

    World-class idiocy, swallowed whole by the Randroids.

    1. derp

    2. You know, much as I hate to feed the trolls, this requires a real-world response. I was, at one time, homeless with three small children, and have also lived a block from the local family shelter (to my south) and the local battered women’s shelter (to my north) for the past five years. Having had the chance to observe the homeless family population up close and personal, I can assure you that homeless kids in the US are wearing, for the most part, more expensive sneakers than I am, and do not lack for video game systems of both the console and hand-held variety. They are most assuredly not going hungry.

      The only homeless kids I ever see in second-hand clothes belong to the very small subset of homeless families who do not customarily use shelters as a sort of all-expenses-paid vacation resort to be visited every two years or so, when the stress of having rent payments cut into the acrylic nail and crack budget becomes too much. I know, it defies belief, but homeless kids are usually the victims of their parents irresponsible choices.

      1. 1) When you were homeless, were you wearing more expensive sneakers than you are now? Did you consider going to a homeless shelter an “all-expenses-paid vacation”?

        2) A battered women’s shelter isn’t the same thing as a homeless shelter. You don’t necessarily need to be destitute to go to the former. “OMG I saw someone at a battered women’s shelter wearing BLUE JEANS and drinking a STARBUCKS, what a PARASITIC CUNT”

        3) Anecdotal observations are meaningless.

        4)If homeless kids are truly victims only of their parents, how can we stop them from being victimized without the threat of violence or kidnapping by the state?

        1. My homelessness was a result of domestic violence, so I have experience of battered women’s shelters. The fact is that they do serve an overwhelmingly poor clientele, many of whom lie about having been abused to gain entrance because they coddle their residents, and because being in one moves you to the top of subsidized housing waiting lists.

          And because I viewed living at the expense of others as a gift not to be abused, and also as a personal failure, both my kids and I wore second hand clothing in order to save money and get out quickly. It is, in fact, an all-expense-paid vacation from real life.

          I know that the plural of anecdote is not data, but I stand by my observations.

          1. I get it. You’re different than all the other poor people. You had no choice but to accept that dirty charity. Everyone else is a parasite looking for a handout, dreaming of sleeping in a crowded dorm, eating cafeteria food for the rest of their life.

            1. “I get it.”
              No, you don’t and probably never will. What a pathetic excuse for a moral agent.

              1. I am rubber you are glue.

                1. “I am rubber you are glue.”
                  You are stupid, I’m not.

                  1. Your brilliant posting history indicates otherwise.

                    1. “Your brilliant posting history indicates otherwise.”
                      And danny, you’ve proven yourself stupid often enough I don’t need to point it out.

                    2. Then why post about it in the first place? And who the fuck is danny?

            2. Family and battered women’s shelters feature neither dormitory style sleeping nor cafeteria food. If they did, people might be more eager to avoid them.

              Also, the fact that I continue to live in the hood when I could afford to do otherwise is because I am happy to live surrounded by blue collar families who fall somewhere on the working poor to lower middle class continuum, and who avoid homelessness like the plague. Most poor people of my acquaintance have as little patience for the professionally homeless as I do; like me, their goal is to instill in their children the drive to succeed and leave the hood behind. That sort of aspiration is hard to nourish in kids who grow up watching their parents find a series of creative ways to avoid working while professing their desire to do so if only someone would give them a chance.

              If believing my way was the right way makes me a snob, so be it. I have three successful, hard-working, self-supporting kids to show for it, so I’ll take that hit.

              1. You’re not a snob because you look down on the “professionally homeless”. You’re a hypocrite because you think everyone in the battered women’s shelter was “professionally homeless” save yourself.

                1. Gee, so glad you can read my mind. In the real world, though, after 15 years I remain friends with several women I met at the battered women’s shelter and with a couple of staff members, too. I also donate clothing and household goods, and steer young women in trouble in their direction. I am neither ungrateful nor uncaring, and do not think I’m in any way exceptional. That probably a third to a half of their clients are either scamming them or caught in a revolving door is simply an acknowledged fact, but does not change the fact that they are providing what I consider a necessary and valuable service.

                2. derider, do you realize how friggin’ annoying your comments are?

                3. Derider, you’re the only one supplying absolutes like “everyone” and “all the others”. If you’re determined to live up to your name, at least try to base your derision of others on what they’ve actually said, rather than on what they would have needed to say to fit your prejudices.

                  1. She started saying this:

                    “The only homeless kids I ever see in second-hand clothes belong to the very small subset of homeless families who do not customarily use shelters as a sort of all-expenses-paid vacation resort to be visited every two years or so”

                    And has retreated to:

                    That probably a third to a half of their clients are either scamming them or caught in a revolving door is simply an acknowledged fact

                    So now “most” has shrunk to less than half, and “a very small subset” is now more than half. But I’m the disingenuous asshole, right?

                    1. 1. The one third to one half was specifically referring to battered women’s shelters. Family shelters serve a different population, the majority of whom are homeless due to fucked up priorities and a rental history that gives private landlords pause.

                      2. Being legitimately a battered woman does not automatically confer sainthood. Even among the non-malingering majority of women in domestic violence shelters irresponsible choices and a lack of priorities are the norm, rather than the exception. One of the most prevalent displays of that is the refusal to dress children, even infants, in anything other than brand name clothing and sneakers at a time when the mom does not have a savings account. That is self indulgent behavior of an adolescent sort, which should be seen as unacceptable in an adult with children to support and no job or home.

            3. You had no choice but to accept that dirty charity.

              ______________

              There you have it. There was a time when charity was seen as, well, charity — unearned, short-term help to be accepted as a last resort, with the utmost humility, and, frankly, with some personal shame. The left put an end to that. Now people believe they are entitled to charity, a belief which Derider and his ilk are only too happy to re-enforce at every opportunity. Entitlement now pervades our culture, has created a massive and growing class of national dependents, and will soon enough bankrupt the country. Heckuva job, progressives.

    3. Warren’s a Deceitful Harvard Marxist?

      When you assert that all wealth belongs to the community, yes you are a Marxist.

      1. Please provide a quote where Warren advocates for the abolition of private property, or the seizure of the means of the production by the proletariat.

        Socialist =\= Communist

        1. “Socialist =\= Communist”

          But Stupid = Socialist.

          1. So your reply makes you a Socialist?

            1. Oh, danny, how clever!
              No, you’re the socialist; fail.

              1. You have now called two dissenters “stupid.” What will you pull from your bag of comebacks next?

                1. Well, actually he called me stupid twice. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse.

                2. “You have now called two dissenters “stupid.””
                  Make it two now, stupid.

                  1. You can’t argue with logic like that.

        2. How about this one:

          “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody! You built a factory out there? Good for you! But I want to be clear: You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You built a factory, and it turned into something terrific or a great idea: God bless! Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

          That was Lizzie. Anytime I hear “social contract”, I know that some positivist is looking for a bigger hunk

    4. If the Occupiers care about homelessness, why do they oppose housing construction?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?f…..B4JSaWA0Jg

      1. no activist group ever wants to see its signature issue solved because if it were, members would have to get real jobs.

      2. That was too funny. Oh my, those icky townhouses might get built on the Ramapo Mountains (and we all know who occupies those TOWNHOUSES …ewwwww)

        A bunch of Rotarian Socialists, protesting against homelessness, as long as it’s not in beautiful Suffern

  6. there’s been a lot of talk lately about who spawned the Occupy movement’s central idea.

    Adbusters in Vancouver is also claiming title of having thought of the “Occupy” idea: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/…..sters.html

  7. Speaking of the 99-percent-of-the-1-percenters, there’s been a lot of talk lately about who spawned the Occupy movement’s central idea.

    I am Spartacus.

    1. That’s right, he is Spartacus. [Points finger at FoE in dramatic, j’accuse style.]

        1. Nah, I’m only pulling your leg. It’s crucifixion, really.

          No, really, I’m Spartacus! [Demonstrates with sword–dodge, parry, turn, thrust! Watches futilely as FoE is crucified.]

          1. Settle down now, children, lest the Derider look down his nose at you.

  8. And when Vidal wrote that line about the 1%, it was only after he had been using it for years already, rather like most of his best material.

    1. I’m so glad that I can separate my disgust for Vidal’s political and other ravings from his historical fiction, some of which I like very much (namely, Julian and Creation).

      1. Two very good choices there. I also liked Burr when I read it, back in high school, or The Dark Ages, as they’re called.

        1. I never did get into his American books, but I haven’t tried in some time. Maybe I should pick one up. I think I own the one on Lincoln somewhere.

  9. I think you kind of missed the angle here, Tim (or, if you didn’t miss it, didn’t articulate it as well as you could have). The 99% here in the U.S. aren’t going to buy the “doing better than ever” statement because it’s obvious by any metric that things in the U.S. were far better in 2005 than they are now.

    I think the better angle is that this reinforces the fact that, as Americans, we are the 1% GLOBALLY. When the Occupy movement bitches at rich Americans for fattening their pockets at the expense of poor Americans, but then turns around and does the same thing on a global scale (I’m looking at YOU, organized labor!) it’s transparently hypocritical. I think that’s the message that should be sent, and when you start out with, “Hey dipshits, quit moaning because things really aren’t that bad!” you lose the audience before you can sell that message.

    1. Okay, re-reading the post, my comment above is really more a critique of the headline than the actual post.

  10. “Hey dipshits, quit moaning because things really aren’t that bad!” you lose the audience before you can sell that message.

    _____________________

    In other words, stupid spoiled brats don’t believe they’re spoiled. What else is new?

    1. “stupid spoiled brats don’t believe they’re spoiled” describes about 95% of Reason commenters.

      1. I am of the 50% who is poorer then the other 50% in the US…(maybe i will break that barrier when the economy recovers)

        I have no problem realizing that I, in every sense of the word, am fabulously wealthy.

        Furthermore I rejoice when poeple around the world who actually live in true poverty makes steps to be as mindbogglingly rich as I am.

        But yeah I can see how your dead end political ideology is offended by these facts.

        Must suck being you.

      2. Assume you’re right, Derider, but the difference is that Reason commenters aren’t hanging out in parks insisting that that wealth be redistributed to them.

  11. fantastically rich, overfed, debt-happy, free-spending, spoiled, lazy, infantilized nations of the west

    Remind me again, whose national anthem is that from?

    O’er the la-and of the freee, and the home of the fantastically rich, overfed, debt-happy, free-spending, spoiled, lazy infants

    No, that’s not quite right.

    1. What’s she so unhappy about?

  12. Elizabeth Warren is running for office in the most high-profile race in the country not involving Barack Obama. It’s a position that calls for some tact. So what does she think about the Occupy Wall Street protests that are roiling the country?

    The article only get’s worse from there.How fucking self important are these liberal asshats? Most high-profile? Roiling the country? Ans if I never have to hear another utterance of pure stupidity from Elizabeth Warren again it will bee too soon. That women is a joke and should be laughed out of everything she tries. It only took me five minutes of seeing her in a Daily Show interview to realize that and that opinion is confirmed every time I hear her or hear about her.

  13. I wish Buckley had punched Vidal in the face in 1968. I am so old that I was watching that in the wee hours. That was the best convention ever!

    Anyway, “…in the name of terrorism, a quite effective police state has ever so gradually replaced the old republic.”

    This kind of hyperbole gets us nowhere. It is as innacurate as the 99% claim of the dipshits of OWS. We are far from a police state. Not that we are as free of government power and influence as I think is our constitutional, and natural, right. But, more people are becoming aware of the incremental erosion of our rights. And that is a good thing.

    I view the majority of the OWSers as being to young, or too high, to understand that when you ask government to do things “FOR” you, it is hard to stop it from doing things “TO” you.

    1. The police can, on the most specious evidence, invade your home without warning (often ransacking it in the process and shooting your dog). The police can confiscate money without due process based on the assumption that the act of carrying large amounts of cash is a priori evidence of criminal activity. Many police departments finance their own operations through the levying of fines (particularly traffic violations). Lastly, when the police make a mistake, it is nearly impossible to see that mistake rectified, and the court fees involved in rectifying such a mistake are prohibitive.

      If that isn’t the definition of a police state, I don’t know what is.

  14. The protests aren’t about some people having more than others. It is not about economic performance. It’s about some people having to follow different laws than others. We are the 99%.

    Stop with this nonsense.

    1. Shut the fuck up with the 99% bullshit already. You have no right to speak for anyone but yourself. The claim that a bunch of whining children represent nearly everyone in the country is laughable. It doesn’t become any more true if you keep repeating it. Nor will your marks start believing it.

      1. The claim that a bunch of whining children

        whining white (and presumably racist) children

        Corrected.

      2. Our government has the right to speak for us regarding laws WE passed. If you think holding EVERYONE to the rule of law is childish, then I’m not sure what you are doing involved in a political discussion.

    2. It is not about economic performance.

      soooo…

      ….then why identify “them” as the 1% richest?

      Also if you are the joe boyle of the good ol’ days I would like to be the first to welcome back your incoherent hackery and look forward to you explaining Libya.

      1. “Vote for Boyle, son of toil/”

        1. “Honest Hal, the Ayrab’s pal”
          Had to look it up

      2. Are you dense? Because they break the law and get away with it. Rich + getting away with breaking laws = protest. Rich != Protest.

        Not boyle.

        1. Are you dense? People who break the law are put on trial by the GOVERNMENT.
          If the Government doesn’t put someone who broke law on trial, Protest the Government.

  15. So I guess income inequality isn’t a big deal?

    1. No, it isn’t.

    2. No, it isn’t. You know where you are, right?

    3. “So I guess income inequality isn’t a big deal?”

      You’d be right:
      “After-tax income for the top 1 percent of U.S. households almost tripled, up 275 percent, […] For people in the middle of the economic scale, after-tax income grew by just 40 percent.”

      Gee! The horror of it! The really wealthy got wealthier than the wealthy!
      How can we tolerate this?
      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/…..908D83.DTL

    4. Only to the envious and greedy.

      Actual poverty is a problem, but it’s a problem whether other people have stuff or not.

  16. It’s clear that the Occupy protests cropping up in every city in the world will soon cover the entire planet in a War Games-style surge of expanding Ground Zeros that will transform all politics and economics, bringing a new era of social justice and income equality.

    They’re springing up in 1,000 countries, Tim – the great intellectual giant that is Diane Sawyer told me.

    1. I don’t think I’ve ever been this indifferent to a supposed political movement.

        1. Exactly.

      1. LOL at that clip or LOL at the fact that somebody actually reads Big Government?

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  18. Equatorial Guinea’s GDP multiplied just from the natural gas its bosses have allowed to be pumped out.

    How Fernando Poo got picked as a setting for Illuminatus!: A neighbor’s boy pointed it out to Bob Shea as a funny name on an atlas. I was firmly convinced it was Craphole Island on Lost — the serial, not the game show, though it would’ve been good to dump people there on the game show.

  19. I just finished watching “Baader Meinhof Complex,” and that has taugth me a lot about the OWS movement.

  20. And don’t forget all the new billionaires in Zimbabwe. That Mugabe. An economic genius.

  21. Kenny notes that these excellent performances do not seem to be correlated with trade liberalizations, credit shenanigans, inter-governmental “free trade” agreements or any of the other Yanqui-mandated solutions that are supposed to bring prosperity to the developing world.

    Be carefall in drawing any conclusions about policies. At the minimum we have to remember the effect of “regression to the mean” – how many of these countries (especially the small, busted-ass ones) did so well because they we so far behind previously? The empirical literature is fairly clear in showing that good government and property rights, trade openness, etc., are correlated with growth. Specific trade agreements are less obviously connected to growth.

  22. I saw a video of SEIU’s Stephen Lerner back in March where he was telling his audience about the Occupy Wall Street protest which he said would start on September 15th. SEIU, Acorn, the various George Soros funding entities, and the White House/Democrat Party have a history of working closely together for their mutual benefit. The March video proves the whole protest is to provide a mechanism for the Progressives, Socialists, Communists to influence the 2012 elections. However, the way the protestors are acting, it may well prove to be counter- productive.

  23. Strawman OWS one more time Reason.com, I dare you. I double dare you.

  24. the various George Soros funding entities, and the White House/Democrat Party have a history of working closely together for their mutual benefit. The March video proves the whole protest is to provide a mechanism for the Progressives, Socialists, Communists to influence the 2012 elections.

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