Three Myths on the World’s Poor
Monday, January 20, 2014
By Bill and Melinda Gates
By almost any measure, the world is better off now than it has ever been before. Extreme poverty has been cut in half over the past 25 years, child mortality is plunging, and many countries that had long relied on foreign aid are now self-sufficient.
So why do so many people seem to think things are getting worse? Much of the reason is that all too many people are in the grip of three deeply damaging myths about global poverty and development. Don’t get taken in by them.
MYTH ONE: Poor countries are doomed to stay poor.
They’re really not. Incomes and other measures of human welfare are rising almost everywhere—including Africa.
Take Mexico City, for instance. In 1987, when we first visited, most homes lacked running water, and we often saw people trekking on foot to fill up water jugs. It reminded us of rural Africa. The guy who ran Microsoft’s Mexico City office would send his kids back to the U.S. for checkups to make sure the smog wasn’t making them sick.