Young impoverished girl with cat.

Boj o hranici chudoby

WASHINGTON, DC – Jako univerzitní profesor a později hlavní ekonomický poradce indické vlády jsem byl dlouhou dobu spokojeným uživatelem dat Světové banky o globální chudobě, sledoval jsem trendy a analyzoval vzorce vývoje napříč zeměmi. Zřídka jsem se pozastavil a přemýšlel, jak se tato čísla vypočítávají. Pak jsem před třemi lety přišel jako hlavní ekonom do Světové banky. Bylo to, jako by zákazníka, který si spokojeně objedná oběd v oblíbené restauraci, znenadání požádali, aby šel do kuchyně a pokrm si uvařil.

Působit v oblasti měření chudoby je pro Světovou banku nelehký úkol. Pokud chudoby ubývá, kritici nás obviňují, že se chceme vychloubat úspěchem. Pokud jí přibývá, říkají, že si zajišťujeme důvod pro další působení. A pokud se nemění, vyslechneme si, že se snažíme vyhnout se těmto dvěma obviněním.

Na vědomí, že uslyšíte kritiku, ať je výsledek jakýkoli, je naštěstí cosi osvobozujícího. Přesto když se náš tým letos pustil do sestavování definice globální hranice chudoby (a tedy jejího rozsahu), byl jsem si palčivě vědom pobídky k opatrnosti od letošního laureáta Nobelovy ceny za ekonomii Anguse Deatona: „Nejsem si jistý, jestli je moudré, aby se Světová banka tomuto projektu tolik poddávala.“

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