The graph comes from a post at The Corner and it illustrates the quite astonishing differences between the two Korean countries who went their separate political and economic ways decades ago.
What happened to North Korea is a perfect example of what happens when the Progressive agenda is implemented in its pure, unadulterated form. Everyone in NoKo was equal; wealth was perfectly redistributed (it just wasn't created); and from a "green" standpoint, NoKo was a radical environmentalist's wet dream:
We have the ability right here in the U.S. to conduct social experiments like the above by permitting states to go their own way with the social justice, Obamacare, progressive agenda and see how they do. The difference will be that people will be free to escape from the resulting oppression (as they are in California, at a record rate)and flee to states that have a less progressive (and more pro-capitalist, pro-freedom) agenda.
The legacy of North Korea is a reality that is hard to face for the dedicated proponent for "social justice" and all the other leftist/Marxist bull; but the facts are right there for all who care to look.
Or, read This paper from a number of years ago about the connection between POVERTY and GOVERNANCE:
A growing body of academic research is showing us that the two are both sides of one coin.
Indeed, the empirical link between poor governance and poverty received a boost the same week of the conference when economist William Easterly released an important new working paper for the Center for Global Development.
Easterly has spent his career inside foreign aid circles. Within those circles, it has been widely believed that impoverished nations suffer from a self-perpetuating "poverty trap." This poverty trap is almost impossible to escape without a big push from wealthy countries -- hence the logic of foreign aid.
This view, while not entirely new, has been most recently championed by the economist Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute at Columbia University -- whom the New York Times just editorialized is an "A-list economics geek." The only problem with this storyline, according to Easterly, is that "evidence to support the narrative is scarce."
Easterly found that, "Over 1970-94, there is good data on public investment for 22 African countries. These countries' governments spent $342 billion on public investment. The donors gave these same countries' governments $187 billion in aid over this period. Unfortunately, the corresponding …increase in productivity… was zero."
If half a trillion dollars of investment and aid can't raise economic output, then what can? "The paper instead finds support for democratic institutions and economic freedom as determinants of growth that explain the occasions under which poor countries grow more slowly than rich countries." In other words, poverty -- and its alleviation -- are directly linked to governance.
Along these lines, It is also worthwhile to read some of the peer-reviewed scientific papers (from 2005 - 2011) that definitively link economic prosperity to FREEDOM.
Poverty has a cure, people.
It is not an instantaneous cure, but it works miraculously over time to pull entire societies and nations up from economic stagnation and misery.
Policymakers whose goal is fighting poverty need to pay attention to the link between economic freedom and prosperity. The freest economies have a per-capita income of $29,219, more than twice that of the "mostly free" at $12,839, and more than four times that of the "mostly unfree."
It is ECONOMIC FREEDOM that is the true cure for poverty.
Not MORE TAXES. Not MORE REGULATION. Not MORE FREE STUFF. Not GOVERNMENT CONTROL OF THE ECONOMY nor THE REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH.
Just look at North Korea and South Korea. Dark vs Light; Poverty vs Prosperity.
And, consider not only the economic toll inflicted by pure progressivism over the long term, but also the human toll. Leftists are fond of trotting out individuals who have not prospered under capitalism--they lose their jobs or their homes; but at least they are free to move on and try again; and others are free to help them if they want to. North Koreans are helpless; trapped inside a progressive utopian fantasy and ruled by a series of malignant narcissists (and the next in line doesn't appear to be much different than his father); with no help available and no possibility to get out alive.
As Mark Krikorian notes:
After almost a lifetime under the rule of the Kim Family Regime, North Koreans are broken, morally, psychologically, socially. You can’t just go back to the status quo ante — the society there entered modernity (sort of) under this perverse and demonic system and has been permanently disfigured as a result.
Pure progressivism permanently disfigures people. The free market may knock you down, but you are free to get up and try again...and again.
It is CAPITALISM, or the free market, that brings societies and people out of poverty.
For those on the Left who pay lip service to fighting poverty and achieving social justice; but who reflexly denounce capitalism, free trade, and globalization; who routinely demonize capitalists and entrepreneurs who create wealth (and jobs); I strongly recommend that you STFU, and let those evil, greedy capitalistic bastards, pursuing their own selfish, profit-making agendas, do their thing.
I say this only because it's for your own good--not to mention, everyone else's!
UPDATE: I just noticed this WSJ article by Jeb Bush, which is related:
Congressman Paul Ryan recently coined a smart phrase to describe the core concept of economic freedom: "The right to rise."
Think about it. We talk about the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to assembly. The right to rise doesn't seem like something we should have to protect.
But we do. We have to make it easier for people to do the things that allow them to rise. We have to let them compete. We need to let people fight for business. We need to let people take risks. We need to let people fail. We need to let people suffer the consequences of bad decisions. And we need to let people enjoy the fruits of good decisions, even good luck.
That is what economic freedom looks like. Freedom to succeed as well as to fail, freedom to do something or nothing.
Check it out.