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Some optimism during gloomy mood of Davos 2009

James I Davison's picture

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao as optimistically predicted his country’s growth in 2009. Image credit: worldeconomicforum at Flickr under a Creative Commons license.
I've seen quite a few stories this week about the World Economic Forum, which is entering its last two days in Davos, Switzerland. Not surprisingly, accounts coming out of the annual meeting have reflected the gloomy state of a global economy in the midst of financial crisis. Seems the event's past reputation of being a party for wealthy people and celebrities has been replaced with politicians, average government workers and others discussing – as the 2009 event has been dubbed – "Shaping the Post-Crisis World."

A story that stuck out at me came from the New York Times, which quoted Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, as optimistically predicting the country’s growth in 2009 at 8 percent. That’s pretty optimistic compared to many other economist predictions – some as low as 4 percent or less for the year.

New global poverty estimates confirm China’s leading role in meeting MDGs

David Dollar's picture

The international community has endorsed the Millenium Development Goal of reducing the poverty rate in the developing world by 50% over the 25 years, 1990-2015.  While the target is arbitrary, it is nonetheless important to have a stretch goal like this to challenge us all to make the world a better place.  To measure progress, naturally we need pretty good estimates of global poverty.  The World Bank is the leading bean counter in this exercise.  It just today released new estimates of global poverty that have the potential to illuminate the progress, but also the potential to confuse a lot of people.  The research department of the World Bank has changed its global poverty line from $1 per day to $1.25 per day and has found about 468 million more poor people than it had previously estimated.  About 135 million of these newly found poor are in China.  How does one make sense of these new numbers?  Here are some pointers: