亚洲的阴暗面

发自华盛顿——当前,南亚地区正处在一种令人沮丧的矛盾态势之中。一方面,它是世界上发展最快的地区之一,但在在另一方面,南亚也是世界上贫困人口密度最高的地方,当地人民深受赤贫,冲突和苦难困扰。尽管比撒哈拉以南非洲发展程度更高,且印度(南亚地区最大的国家)的收入水平已经达到了中等偏下,但南亚的贫困人口数量却远高于撒哈拉以南非洲。

这就向我们提出了一个大问题:摆脱贫困的最佳手段究竟是追求总体经济发展,还是直接消灭具体的贫困现象?而答案则取决于我们看问题的角度。经济的高速增长有时会掩盖了某些偏远地区的贫困状况。对南亚国家来说,贫困已经从国家整体问题转变成了内部某些区域的问题。

经济发展的确降低了南亚的贫困率,但下降的速度还不足以减少贫困人口的总量。生活消费水平低于1.25美元/天的人口数量从1981年的5.49亿增加到了2005年的5.95亿,其中3/4居住在印度,并导致其国内贫困人口数量从4.2亿上升到4.55亿。除消除贫困的进度较慢的原因以外,个人生活质量的改善也未能跟上收入增长的步伐。

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