THE LIFE OF GLOBAL PROSPERITY: How Neoliberals Distort Data to Mask Poverty and Exploitation


ISBN 9788193987834


Additional information






Year Published

ISBN 9788193987834


“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?” inquiresThe Economistmagazine. Seth Donnelly answers: “It didn’t!” In fact, according to Donnelly’sThe 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.”


This is an important book. It systematically examines and deconstructs the World Bank and dominant narrative that global poverty has been declining. While there have been other critiques of the World Bank’s methodology of measuring poverty, this book unifies them into a broader, accessible critique that will be of use to revolutionary social movements and activists the world over.—Christopher Feise, Professor Emeritus, Washington State University

The Lie of Global Prosperityconvincingly 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.—Pierre Labossiere, Co-Founder of the Haiti Action Committee; Board Member, Haiti Emergency Relief Fund; Labor and Human Rights Activist

In this short, incisive, no-nonsense, and easily accessible book, Seth Donnelly demonstrates the great lengths taken by international organizations, such as the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, to disguise the dire realities of global poverty and world hunger through the flagrant misuse of statistics. Unable substantially to reduce world poverty under the current imperialist system, the dominant interests of the capitalist world economy seek to do “the next best thing”: to define it away, even while world hunger and deprivation increases. ReadingThe Lie of Global Prosperitywill leave you shocked, angry, and, most important, informed.—John Bellamy Foster, coauthor,The Endless Crisis

A bleak look at the propagandistic world of development goals and the international comparisons of poverty, hunger, housing, and health on which they rest. Global statisticians have ways of making the data talk, but as with all forms of torture, the result is not the truth. It is, merely, what the sponsor would like to hear, and what he would like the rest of us to believe.—James K. Galbraith, author,Inequality: What Everyone Needs to Know

Donnelly shows how militarism and neoliberal trickle down capitalism are continually putting millions in extreme misery and deprivation, part of the policies leading to the phenomenon of massive displacement and forced migration. It’s a book complex in its analysis, yet accessible to academics and activists alike.The Myth of Global Prosperityis a great contribution to all those struggling to make a different world.—Judith Mirkinson, President of the Comfort Women’s Justice Coalition; author, “The Lasalin Massacre and the Human Rights Crisis in Haiti Today,” 2019 National Lawyers Guild report

Exceptionally well written,The Lie of Global Prosperitywill prove to be of immense informative value for both professional economists and the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the subject. An iconoclastic and exceptionally informative study; unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library collections.—Midwest Book Review


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “THE LIFE OF GLOBAL PROSPERITY: How Neoliberals Distort Data to Mask Poverty and Exploitation”