David Abney: Ending Poverty Through Trade – Business Fights Poverty.
By David Abney, CEO, UPS
Nearly 200 years ago, British historian Thomas B. Macaulay observed that “free trade — one of the greatest blessings which government can confer on its people — is in almost every country unpopular.”
But recent history has shown how trade can lift developing economies and their people. We only have to contrast the China of today — prosperous and globally engaged — with its pre-liberalization days to see the benefits of opening markets that were long walled off.
History has also shown the need to help economies make the transition to an open market. For instance, while the benefits of trade are undeniable, there’s a reasonable argument for providing assistance to displaced workers who need time to learn new skills.
These issues aside, all of us have a moral obligation not to waver in our support because the benefits of trade — economic and humanitarian — are too powerful to ignore. But it will take an ongoing commitment by nations and their people, along with the efforts of public and private sectors, to end the injustices that poverty bestows on the least advantaged.