Today's moral lesson:
The pursuit of profit thus results in higher living standards for workers, as well as cheaper and more plentiful goods and services for consumers.
The way this has enhanced people’s capacity to lead a good life can be seen in the spectacular reduction in levels of global poverty, brought about by the spread of capitalism on a world scale. In 1820, 85% of the world’s population lived on today’s equivalent of less than a dollar per day. By 1950, this proportion had fallen to 50%. Today it is down to 20%. World poverty has fallen more in the last fifty years than it did in the previous five hundred.(11) This dramatic reduction in human misery and despair owes nothing to aging rockstars demanding that we ‘make poverty history.’ It is due to the spread of global capitalism.
Capitalism has also made it possible for many more people to live on Earth and to survive for longer than ever before. In 1900, the average life expectancy in the ‘less developed countries’ was just thirty years. By 1960, this had risen to forty-six years. By 1998, it was sixty-five years. To put this extraordinary achievement into perspective, the average life expectancy in the poorest countries at the end of the twentieth century was fifteen years longer than the average life expectancy in the richest country in the world—Britain—at the start of that century.
By perpetually raising productivity, capitalism has not only driven down poverty rates and raised life expectancy, it has also released much of humanity from the crushing burden of physical labour, freeing us to pursue ‘higher’ objectives instead.
Please do go read the whole thing