Depressing truth behind Cambodia’s poverty reduction

Whoever said it – Mark Twain, Benjamin Disraeli or another casualty of Churchillian Drift – it is a useful attitude to take of there being three types of lies: “lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

It is inescapable if only because the ruling Cambodian People’s Party rarely misses a chance to remind us that under its watch the poverty rate (usually defined as living on less than US$1.90 a day) in Cambodia fell from 53% in 2004 to 20.5% in 2011 and 13.5% in 2014. The government, indeed, ought to be praised for overseeing this, while we must also assign credit to the fact that this has largely been achieved thanks to the proliferation of the free market, with some redistributive elements.

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