One Billion Fewer People Live in “Extreme Poverty”

(p. A16) The global population living in extreme poverty has fallen below 750 million for the first time since the World Bank began collecting global statistics in 1990, a decline of more than 1 billion people in the past 25 years.

. . .

The World Bank defines “extreme poverty” as living on less than $1.90 a day, or about $694 a year. The sum, which is based off measures of poverty determined by many low-income countries, is the amount it takes to afford minimal basic needs.

The figure is comparable, adjusted for inflation, to the $1-a-day threshold that became popular in the 1990s as the marker of extreme poverty.

For the full story, see:

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Sept. 19, 2018, and has the title “World Poverty Falls Below 750 Million, Report Says.”)

Peter Boettke Offers Advance Praise for Openness to Creative Destruction

Prometheus didn’t ask permission for Zeus to bring fire to the humans. It cost him dearly, as Zeus punished him in a rather vicious manner. But human beings were made infinitely better off with fire. Art Diamond relays this story to us precisely because he wants us to understand the great benefits that entrepreneurial innovation deliver for mankind, and yet how the true innovator is often despised and disrespected by the prevailing orthodox establishment. If Prometheus had to get permission before giving fire to man, then man would have never gotten the benefits of fire. Similarly, if our entrepreneurial innovators had to get permission prior to introducing their innovation, we would still be walking around or perhaps at best riding on the backs of beasts but I doubt we would have seen the benefits of automobiles, let alone planes, and we would very well not have modern conveniences such as indoor plumbing, let alone air travel, cell phones, and the world wide web.

Peter Boettke, Professor of Economics & Philosophy, George Mason University; Director F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center.

Boettke’s advance praise is for:
Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming June 2019.

Innovative Entrepreneurs Bring Prosperity to the Poor

(p. A17) As the economist Joseph Schumpeter observed: “The capitalist process, not by coincidence but by virtue of its mechanism, progressively raises the standard of life of the masses.”

For Schumpeter, entrepreneurs and the companies they found are the engines of wealth creation. This is what distinguishes capitalism from all previous forms of economic society and turned Marxism on its head, the parasitic capitalist becoming the innovative and beneficent entrepreneur. Since the 2008 crash, Schumpeter’s lessons have been overshadowed by Keynesian macroeconomics, in which the entrepreneurial function is reduced to a ghostly presence. As Schumpeter commented on John Maynard Keynes’s “General Theory” (1936), change–the outstanding feature of capitalism–was, in Keynes’s analysis, “assumed away.”

Progressive, ameliorative change is what poor people in poor countries need most of all. In “The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty,” Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen and co-authors Efosa Ojomo and Karen Dillon return the entrepreneur and innovation to the center stage of economic development and prosperity. The authors overturn the current foreign-aid development paradigm of externally imposed, predominantly government funded capital- and institution-building programs and replace it with a model of entrepreneur-led innovation. “It may sound counterintuitive,” the authors write, but “enduring prosperity for many countries will not come from fixing poverty. It will come from investing in innovations that create new markets within these countries.” This is the paradox of the book’s title.

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Luis Locay Offers Advance Praise for Openness to Creative Destruction

Openness to Creative Destruction is first and foremost a great read. Much of the book is devoted to skillfully chosen accounts of usually successful, but occasionally unsuccessful, entrepreneurs to illustrate the author’s arguments. At times these accounts made me feel like I was reading a series of short adventure stories. This use of examples to make the argument for the central role of the creative entrepreneur in generating innovation, and the benefits that can accrue to society from creative destruction, makes the book very accessible to the intelligent layman or beginning student, while its serious ideas will be of interest to professional economists and sophisticated policymakers. The theoretician of entrepreneurship or innovation will find it a one-stop source of real-world examples. I plan to make it required reading in my growth and industrial organization classes.

Luis Locay, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Miami.

Locay’s advance praise is for:
Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming June 2019.

Roger Koppl Offers Advance Praise for Openness to Creative Destruction

Diamond shows us that entrepreneurial innovation is not just the best way to make a better world. It is the only way. If we care about our fellow humans, then we had better do what we can to enable entrepreneurial innovation. Diamond shows with an unusual depth and breadth of scholarship that the most important thing we can do to promote innovation is to let entrepreneurs test their impossible ideas in the free market. Diamond’s book is a gem. Grab it, read it, learn from it.

Roger Koppl, Professor of Finance, Syracuse University. Author of Expert Failure and other works.

Koppl’s advance praise is for:
Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming June 2019.

Deirdre McCloskey Offers Advance Praise for Openness to Creative Destruction

Astoundingly rich in ideas and stories, Diamond’s sweet and beautiful book is more: an open-handed guide to what really matters in explaining, and sustaining, the Great Enrichment of 3,000 percent per person 1800 to the present. Diamond assuages the ancient fear of betterment, recently haunting us with spooks of AI and technological unemployment. He shows conclusively that an “innovative dynamism” enriches us all, materially and spiritually. The poor are bettered. The jobs are bettered. Read the book and be bettered, freed from specious and politically poisonous worries about economic change.

Deirdre McCloskey, UIC Distinguished Professor of Economics and of History Emerita. Author of Bourgeois Equality and many other works.

McCloskey’s advance praise is for:
Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming June 2019.

George Bittlingmayer Offers Advance Praise for Openness to Creative Destruction

For tens of thousands of years, before the Age of Innovation, human beings merely survived by hunting, gathering or tilling, and lived in caves or dirty, squalid huts. In marked contrast, the average person alive today enjoys a standard of living and access to entertainment, medical services, travel, and communications technology that our ancestors would have regarded as miraculous. Art Diamond skillfully shows how we got the many wonders we take for granted – everything from indoor plumbing to SUVs to iPhones – by telling the stories of the determined tinkerers, iconoclasts and visionaries who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. They succeeded because they were willing to wage the good fight and because they could draw on flawed but ultimately supportive legal, cultural and economic institutions. Diamond also addresses the question of whether the Age of Innovation has run its course, and he provides a timely warning about the dangers that current political and intellectual forces pose to the many potential innovations yet to come. The Age Innovation may end, but whether it does is largely in our hands.

George Bittlingmayer, Economist, Angel Investor, and Professor Emeritus, University of Kansas.

Bittlingmayer’s advance praise is for:
Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming June 2019.