Thomas Sowell

It is tragic that people in some societies simply have not had the same opportunities to develop more valuable skills and that those societies have not had economic and political systems that promote economic progress comparable to that in most Western countries.

Low pay is one symptom of that fact -- and changing the symptom will not change the underlying problem, which is that the people in such countries got a raw deal from fate, history, geography or culture. But the left attempts to blame Western employers who are providing these workers with better options than they had before.

The left-wing spin is that the poor are poor because the rich are rich. That opens the door for a big power-grab by the left in the name of "fairness" or "social justice" or whatever other rhetoric resonates with the unwary and the ill-informed.

Unfortunately, this theory does not also resonate with the facts. Whether domestically or internationally, investors looking for the highest rates of return usually steer clear of poor areas and put their money where there are people with more advanced skills, living in more prosperous countries, even if they have to pay much higher salaries in such countries.

The United States, for example, has long invested more in Canada than in all of poverty-stricken sub-Saharan Africa, where wage rates are a fraction of Canadian wage rates. If the facts mattered -- and if the poor really mattered to their supposed saviors -- the implications of that would have been understood long ago.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate