Imagine your job was to keep millions of poor children alive. But for far too many, you failed.
You tried all kinds of programs. You tried educating their parents. You tried government food programs. You tried aid to their countries. You shipped in millions of tons of food.
You did this for half a century. Longer. Yes, you saved many. But you lost far too many.
Then, finally, you tried something else. Two medicines: Globalization. And capitalism.
“Oooh, nasty medicines,” people told you. They berated you for introducing them. Because they would make capitalists fat, not the children. They would make some folks rich, but leave poor folks behind.
Well, suppose the medicines worked? Worked far better than all the remedies you tried over 50 years. Do you suppose you might come to the point of praising those medicines?
That is the situation a lot of capitalist haters find themselves in. They demonstrate against globalization. They despise big oil companies. Hate big retailers. Loathe big steel and big car companies, big anything. They feel capitalism wrecks economies. They yearn for socialism.
Yet socialism was the medicine that failed. In India. In China. In Korea. It failed hundreds of millions of kids. They died from malnutrition. And diseases that killed them easily because they were malnourished.
The socialists had their chance. They failed.
As you know, capitalism has invaded parts of the world where socialism ruled for decades. Free markets have triumped over government-controlled markets. Globalism has poured cheap goods from around the world into countries that used to prohibit them. In order to protect local producers.
One of the results was announced by the UN Children’s Fund recently. The deaths of young children worldwide has hit an all-time low. Even though the number of children keeps growing. (The rate is slowing.)
Despite larger numbers of children, the number who die has fallen below 10 million a year. A staggering number. Even more staggering when you consider 10 million is an all-time low.
How has this miracle come about? Did the same old remedies suddenly begin to work?
What worked is free markets, capitalism, globalism. These stimuli have caused the global economy to grow more rapidly than probably ever in human history. And a growing world economy makes record numbers of people prosperous.
If it does not make them prosperous, it at least makes them less than desperate. At that elevated stage they can afford food for their kids.
It is not government handouts that save so many more kids. It is not foreign aid. It is the growing economies in formerly poor countries.
Imagine this. In 1990 China had 300 million more of its people living on less than $1 a day than it has today. In 1995 India lost 123 out of 1000 kids under the age of 5. Today it loses “only” 74.
And imagine how many millions of African kids will be saved in similar manner. Once the majority of nations there get rid of the socialism and embrace free markets and capitalism.
I know, the concept of embracing capitalism sickens a lot of Americans. They still feel there must be some way that socialism in some form can do as good a job.
Sorry, but it had its chances in underdeveloped countries. It had billions of guinea pigs to experiment on. Too many of them died. Or to look at it another way, enough died that everyone should have got the message by now.
From Tom ... as in Morgan.
For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.