There is far more trade between countries today than ever before. And it has allowed countries that were terribly poor, with awful rates of childhood mortality, to transform themselves.
If you haven’t seen this superb video by Professor Hans Rosling then please do. It shows the amazing progress that has been made.
This progress is often forgotten by people who instead give gloomy summations of the world today. And worse, some of these people blame globalisation. Trade is even presented as evil, forcing peasants to leave their (cold wet) rice farm to work in ugly city factories (better paid, warm, with healthcare, career prospects). Somehow it’s thought that these dumb peasants don’t know what is good for them and their children – they are portrayed as victims of globalisation.
The statistics in Hans Rosling’s video help dispel this dystopian (patronising) fantasy.
I hope that facts like this help people to realise that trade gives people in poor countries a positive future.
If all the rich people in rich countries had agreed not to buy any goods from factories in Asia until they met our environmental and labour standards then Japan would be a poor backward country today. Child mortality in Asia would be atrocious, as it was only 50 years ago. We must never forget this.