I have now strengthened my case by adding that the official PPP equivalent of $1.25 in poor countries actually buys a lot less food than $1.25 buys in the US. You will also find a conversation with Dean Karlan about effective solutions to poverty problems in this week. The Bretton Woods Institutions and Other Governance Fora, Inequality of Wealth and Income Distribution, Tables and Charts on Social and Economic Policy. Once you recognize those two pretty undeniable facts—that these rules are made by human beings and that they have distributional effects—you naturally get to the responsibility question. H��W�r����+zaWA)" ��*�g����TVM�I��9݀�g8������ �Գ\�(}��{����j�JE"V��$�ï|�D���b���꽛���pEsq��/�غ��X���"��odjLe�r���i���b>���x2�$d~���s�l{�)�_�����j��yu���M'�c���TXu��x�:�͗�����Lf>��"^d9��b�!ē����*�]:qc�[�U'�x�x3����Cns��5BB��8��%�ΣFX�M�MW�b�Ħ��r���C�#�7Bֵ��s ^��։J�©��JȢPΉֈ�R¬��&͆�t��_��!m����k�����µ�kM�Ky(�Al�k��4���X�hU "�*8�ⲪiŶ6kY#��Xd�G�}�⍃�Ӹ�J��gj. But you say that we must scrutinize this and the international legal framework that gives such negotiations blanket approval. TP: Yes, social rules are susceptible to moral analysis. Website. 6. But if you bring up Pareto efficiency, why not advocate strongly increasing the $30 billion already spent by the government through the National Institutes of Health and directing it toward drug research and development [R&D] to provide medicine at cost? The World Bank uses the outrageously low poverty line of $1.25 per person per day, in US dollars of the year 2005. We didn't design the rules or actively advance this system. The dollar amount will buy much more food in the US than its PPP "equivalent" will buy in India. Of course, the effect may get larger or smaller over time, but I have not investigated this. TP:  It's a team effort, actually, but I am certainly fully behind it despite some regrettable actions by pharmaceutical companies, including their strong and successful lobbying of the Clinton administration in behalf of the TRIPS agreement. At the time of publication, "46 percent of humankind live [d] below the World Bank's $2/day poverty line" and 43 percent of those people fell "below the World Bank's better-known $1/day poverty line." Our world is today very far from this ideal. Thomas Pogge has been teaching moral and political philosophy at Columbia University since receiving his Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University. Publications. It is much better to sell them at cost and then to reward the innovator in some other way. TP: The Health Impact Fund is based on the same idea, namely that it is irrational to charge high prices for socially valuable innovations as this guarantees that they will be underutilized. This arbitrage activity would quickly move the price ratio back to near the going currency exchange rate. KB: You're an atypical voice among high-profile Ivy League academics. Piecing together the current global record, we find that most of the current massive underfulfillment of human rights is more or less directly connected to If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. 0000002643 00000 n KB: Up until the economic crisis that took place a couple of years back, many people did not look to institutional moral analysis to explain a wide range of phenomena, like why someone might not have a job, for example. KB: And you have a unique perspective, having come from Germany, due to working peoples' comparative strength and organization there. Many prominent voices on global poverty, like New York University economist William Easterly or the British newsmagazine The Economist, blame kleptocratic regimes, endemic corruption and "bad government" for poverty's persistence in the third world. Box 208306 New Haven, CT 06520-8306 Connecticut Hall 344 College St New Haven, CT 06511-6629 KB: Currently, what are the most important goals and challenges for the HIF? It is for their sake, above all, that we urgently need more unity and better organization and need to concentrate our reform efforts in order to really to achieve reforms, one by one. 3 (2004), p. 387. That's something that companies are extremely good at: organizing a whole pipeline in a cost-effective way. But it's a disciplined turn, taken by the whole profession. (In the average poor country, this amount is even lower, about 83 cents.) This is not always possible, because in some cases the value of an innovation is in the eye of the beholder; it's very difficult to value how much a new Madonna song is worth, for example. KB: One thing that's striking is that these points are intuitive, whereas your work mentions the "demanding" task of conceiving "institutional morality." Now you find that the media are much more homogenous, converging because they all must cater to the same community of advertisers. These large multinational corporations, often acting through their industry lobbies, also exert a powerful influence on the formulation of domestic rules and on their application—but their influence on supranational institutional design is even larger because it faces practically no opposition there. Thomas Pogge (涛慕思•博格) Yale Philosophy Department P.O. To be sure, one citizen, or a few, may be powerless if all the rest are determined to benefit from the imposition of unjust supranational rules. If you ask yourself who is paying for pharmaceutical innovation today, the answer is that it's the more affluent populations paying for still-patented advanced medicines at the pharmacy, for comprehensive insurance coverage or for a national health system. Such additional support depends on being able to show that, and how, the HIF would actually work in the real world. It is the fault of the dominant states and of the system of international law they maintain. These pilots would allow us to demonstrate that we have a reliable health impact measurement methodology, and they would also show how innovators introduce and promote a product differently when they are differently incentivized. Unfortunately, the trend is going in the opposite direction. With the Health Impact Fund in place, these same people would still pay the lion's share of the cost of innovation—now exclusively via taxes. It is estimated that 830 million human beings are chronically undernourished, 1100 million lack access to safe water and 2600 You, however, say our duty to the poor is to stop actively harming them, which strikes most people as bizarre or counterintuitive. Yes, it's getting better by some measures, but it's also becoming ever more scandalous because it is now so easily avoidable. One thing that I did recently was to compare the PPPs used by the World Bank—individual household consumption expenditure PPPs—with food PPPs. For more on Thomas Pogge, visit his website. In 2008, he co-authored The Health Impact Fund, which lays out the plan to make life-saving medicines … FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We need to examine the output of our political system, which is often very hostile to the poor abroad and hostile also to the poor and middle class domestically. Slavery could have been and should have been abolished—then, if not before. Perhaps the most egregious example of regulatory capture is the special tax rate for hedge fund managers—they pay federal income taxes of maximally 15 percent on their income even while the maximum income tax rate in all other professions is 35 percent. Book Review: Thomas Pogge, World Poverty and Human Rights: Cosmopolitan Responsibilities and Reforms (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2002, 284 pp., $27.95 … And that's a big change that happened in the United States in the last 30 or 40 years. Global Financial Integrity estimates that less-developed countries have lost at least $342 billion per annum in this way during the 2000 to 2008 period. Ravallion and Chen have managed the World Bank's income poverty assessments for well over a decade. Because hedge fund managers pay legislators to have this special perk—not cash delivered secretly in brown paper bags, but money given in bright daylight through official channels. Our Supreme Court has even lifted this practice of buying legislation to the level of a constitutional principle by repeatedly protecting corporate spending for and against political candidates, as well as promises and threats of such spending to bribe and blackmail such candidates, by appeal to the free-speech clause of the First Amendment. By using general consumption PPPs, the World Bank is, in effect, saying to the poor: "Sure, you cannot buy as much food as the dollar value we attribute to your income would buy in the United States. 0000000727 00000 n So at the end of the day, it's all a kind of a wash. PPPs are the best we can do to have a general gauge.". They won't accept the policies that were rammed down their throats. KB: Let's talk more in detail about that, because your framework for understanding poverty is distinct from that of other philosophers. The justice of dealings between, say, a country and a corporation would be evaluated in terms of the sanctity of legal contracts. And they wouldn't be fighting so hard over them if they didn't know that the design of these rules makes a difference to their own economic position. Thomas Pogge: We live in a world where economic positions—income and wealth—are very unevenly distributed, and this leads to the widespread persistence of poverty. What is it and what are some of its general features? So there needs to be a successively worse undercounting over time for your point to apply to their assertion of poverty reduction. It does not work for land, for example, where gigantic price differences persist between an acre in Manhattan and an acre in rural Niger. If we offer a prize, so to speak, to anyone who manages to bring a country under his physical control—namely, that they can then sell the country's resources and borrow in its name—then it's not surprising that generals or guerrilla movements will want to compete for this prize. That way you cut out the privatization and monopoly rents on the end results of basic, taxpayer-subsidized research. The logistical challenges to resupplying all these outlets are enormous—and yet, the entire system works with incredible efficiency as is confirmed by the price of the product. Insofar as they would use it, it would give them a separate income stream for some innovations that would be less profitable or unprofitable on the patent track and it would also bring them substantial gains to their image. These words have been strung together by human beings and are also interpreted and enforced by human beings. Thomas Pogge (涛慕思•博格) Yale Philosophy Department P.O. 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