The International Labour Organization (ILO) recently reported that over 12 million Malawians could become poor by 2030 if poverty reduction rates remain the same. This is despite Malawi’s slight improvement in GDP per capita since 2004, and the implementation of numerous measures to counter poverty, including increased government spendings on infrastructure and social welfare programs. Rather than reduce poverty and stimulate economic development, these policies have further impoverished the nation–half of its population earns below 687 Malawian Kwacha (less than one US dollar) per day.
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With North Korea in the news again, experts are once again questioning how long Kim Jong-Un can maintain his current path and power. After all, the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK) has been on the edge of societal and economic collapse for years and cannot persist without at least economic reform. It is, therefore, encouraging that an increasing number of North Koreans are experimenting with private property and the right to buy and sell as they see fit. Such liberalization needs to be further developed if the basic needs of the DPRK’s people are to be met and millions are to be lifted out of poverty. However, this could prove difficult since major reforms would take time and Pyongyang usually fiercely maintains its command economy.
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President Trump’s proposed budget plan would redirect $1 trillion to infrastructure spending over the next decade. This comes shortly after the previous administration signed a bill into law that would increase infrastructure spending by $305 billion over the next five years. While potential allies call for even greater amounts, policy critics suggest implementing free market principles to stretch a smaller amount of funding. By removing Buy America rules, repealing the Davis-Bacon Act, and continuing to repeal burdensome regulations, Trump can craft a more fiscally conservative infrastructure plan.
The Congressional Budget Office reports that state, federal, and local governments spent $416 billion on infrastructure in 2014 alone, accounting for roughly 2.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Approximately one quarter of all infrastructure spending came via the federal government. Trump’s plan would increase it by $20 billion per year.
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