The Austrailian has an interesting article profiling a “glamorous young pro-capitalist who is reinventing radical chic” and works hard to counter what he calls the “globoloney” of anti-globalization protesters.
His name is Johan Norberg and he is also a fan of Ayn Rand’s works.
From the article:
“I used to share many of the beliefs of the anti-globalisation movement. That is where I came from. I saw economic change and restructuring as more of a problem and I didn’t see the positive side to it.
“But then I began to study Swedish history and read about the fact that 100 or 150 years ago every country was a poor country, including Sweden. It is so easy to take these things for granted. But when you see that our forefathers were actually starving you have to think about the dynamic creative forces that have turned this around.”
Adam Smith, John Locke and Ayn Rand are some of his key influences but part of Norberg’s credibility within sections of the non-government sector stems from his passion for ending global poverty.
“When globalisation knocks at the door of Bhagant, an elderly agricultural worker and untouchable in the Indian village of Saijani, this leads to houses being built of brick instead of mud, and to people getting shoes on their feet and clean clothes – not rags – on their backs,” he wrote in In Defence of Global Capitalism.
“Outdoors the streets now have drains and the fragrance of tilled earth has replaced the stench of refuse. Thirty years ago Bhagant didn’t know he was living in India. Today he watches world news on television.”
It is human nature to focus on the negative, Norberg concedes. He feels the pain of young anti-globalisation activists and their anger about poverty. But the good news, that, yes, the rich are getting richer but the poor are not getting poorer, must be spread to combat the notion that growth and economic openness oppresses those at the bottom of the income scale.
“The Asian economies are the most impressive economies today,” he says. “Low-income Asian countries like Taiwan and South Korea were just as poor as African countries 50 years ago. Now they are 20 times richer. Since 1981, extreme poverty in the developing world has been reduced by half. It has dropped from 40 per cent to about 21 per cent. The world has never seen such a rapid reduction in poverty, hunger and infant mortality.”
Or as Norberg’s website says: “In the poorest developing countries, somebody working for an American employer earns no less than eight times the average wage in their own country.”
See the full article for more.