Forthcoming in July 2019
“We’re making headway on global poverty,” trills billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates. “Decline of Global Extreme Poverty Continues,” reports the World Bank. And “How did the global poverty rate halve in 20 years?” inquires The Economist magazine. Seth Donnelly answers: “It didn’t!” In fact, according to Donnelly’s The Lie of Global Prosperity, virtually nothing about these glad tidings proclaiming plummeting global poverty rates is true. It’s just that trend-setting neoliberal experts and institutions need us to believe that global capitalism, now unfettered in the wake of the Cold War and bolstered by Information Technology, has ushered in a new phase of international human prosperity.
This short book deconstructs the assumption that global poverty has fallen dramatically, and lays bare the spurious methods of poverty measurement and data on which the dominant prosperity narrative depends. Here is carefully researched documentation that global poverty—and the inequalities and misery that flourish within it—remains massive, afflicting the majority of the world’s population. Donnelly goes further to analyze just how global poverty, rather than being reduced, is actually reproduced by the imperatives of capital accumulation on a global scale. Just as the global, environmental catastrophe cannot be resolved within capitalism, rooted as it is in contemporary mechanisms of exploitation and plunder, neither can human poverty be effectively eliminated by neoliberal “advances.”
The Lie of Global Prosperity convincingly exposes the spurious arguments used to justify economic policies that exacerbate hunger, misery, and environmental degradation worldwide, revealing the absurdity of the claim that poverty has been dramatically declining under global capitalism in the new millennium. This book is much needed in the struggle for a world truly free from poverty, exploitation, and the denial of basic human rights.