[DEBATE] : Re: Patrick playing with subject lines as well as subjects!
rangreen at sn.apc.org
Thu Mar 1 16:36:22 GMT 2007
Far be it from me to intervene on David Everatt's side, but Patrick is conflating poverty and
inequality. Inequalities may increase, at the same time that poverty may decrease. Inequality
is always relative while poverty may be absolute (as well as relative). So, if the poor benefit
and the rich benefit even more, it is still a good thing, isn't it? Mind you, I am not arguing
that poverty is indeed decreasing (don't have the data for that), but methodologically
Patrick's argument is faulty. What really matters is whether people's basic needs are
satisfied, not whether the rich get richer or not.
On 1 Mar 2007 at 17:38, Patrick Bond wrote:
> David Everatt wrote:
> > Really Patrick! I realise that when research data throw up stuff one
> > doesn't like, such as poverty is dropping and government policies
> > may - patchily and unevenly - be having a small but measurably
> > positive impact on the poor, it is common to be snarky about the
> > researcher (e.g. we're on the left, where are you?) or ignore the
> > research (e.g. long conspiracy theory raves about van den
> > Bergh/Merrifield) and so on - but telling me that the correct thing
> > to do is to go research the rich is, dare I say it, a bit rich, even
> > from humidity-addled KwaZulu-Natalians. Go have a glass of
> > chardonnay.
> Sensitive, are we? The 'conspiracy' is not about a few hired-gun
> intellectuals. It's about crony capitalism, that long list of vast
> pro-business spending interventions during a recent period when
> *capital* investment on social-wage goodies (clinics, schools,
> hospitals, water systems, electricity for the masses, housing, land
> purchase, etc) is waning (according to the data I've seen, albeit in
> the 2004 UNDP report, but which I suspect has continued along
> declining trends since). I think it would be a jolly good sport to put
> the rich under the same microscope the poor get treated to, so as to
> understand the relative income and wealth gains that these kinds of
> subsidies provide. Certainly van der Berg and Merrifield are scared to
> even touch this topic of the 'social wage of the rich', making their
> conclusion (that inequality has dropped 41%) laughable. Can't you help
> them out on that, they wouldn't listen to the likes of me. (Or if you
> want a really fine demolition job on van der Berg's number crunching
> capacity, look at anything written in the last year or so by Charles
> Actually for the sake of this debate, dear comrade, could you please
> go through your poverty measure, those ten variables, with everyone
> having a better look?
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