Third world poverty is disappearing.
In a study published this month, covering 22 developing countries with two billion people, the university’s Poverty and Human Development Initiative concludes that half – including Bangladesh, Nepal and Rwanda – will have “eradicated” destitution within two decades if they “continue reducing poverty steadily at the current absolute rate”. Another seven, including India, will achieve it “within 41 years”.
And this is just one indication among many that the poor may not, after all, always be with us, in what is one of the great under-reported developments of our time. Last week the UN’s blue-chip Human Development Report confirmed that governments have surpassed their target, three years early, of halving the share of the world’s population living in extreme poverty between 1990 and 2015.
“Never in history,” it concludes, “have the living conditions and prospects of so many people changed so dramatically and so fast.”