Extreme Poverty Isn’t Natural, It’s Created
There’s only one problem: the graph’s long-term trend is empirically baseless. For the period 1981 to the present, it uses World Bank survey data on household consumption. This is a legitimate method for assessing poverty. For the period prior to 1981, however, the graph relies on GDP estimates from Bourguignon and Morrison. The problem is that GDP data cannot legitimately be used to tell us about poverty, because it is not an indicator of livelihoods or provisioning; rather, it is an indicator of commodity production. Unlike the World Bank data, it does not count non-commodity forms of household consumption (subsistence, commons, mutuality, etc.), which was the dominant form of provisioning for most of history.