Monday, August 24, 2015

David F. Ruccio — Does capitalism cause poverty? Let us count the ways

Clearly, Pope Francis’s criticisms of capitalism (as I have discussed here and here) have touched a nerve. They certainly have in the case of Harvard’s Ricardo Hausmann, who attempts to argue both that capitalism is not responsible for causing poverty and that more capitalism will eventually eliminate poverty.
Hausmann’s story is a very familiar one. What it comes down to is the idea that the majority of people before capitalism arrived one the scene were poor and as capitalism develops and more and more people became wage-laborers with rising real wages. But areas of the world still remain outside of capitalism and those people will remain poor unless and until capitalism is allowed to fully develop.
It’s a story that is as old as Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, and it’s been told and retold by generations of classical and neoclassical economists ever since.
Their story is certainly right about one thing: capitalism does create the promise of ending poverty.
The problem is, their story conveniently overlooks important aspects of the development of capitalism—all the ways capitalism has over the course of its history created more, not less, poverty. I’m thinking of four instances in particular.…
Occasional Links & Commentary
Does capitalism cause poverty? Let us count the ways
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics University of Notre Dame Notre Dame

1 comment:

Bob said...

Uh oh, another graduate of the Roger Erikson School in Mass Communications...