Neo-liberalism gets blamed for a lot of things: that bankers couldn't see a housing bubble for example. It's also been said that the insistence that the poor countries of the world do the same things to get rich that we did to get rich - trade, get governments out of the way, try to create wealth, these sorts of things - was neo-liberalism conspiring to keep them poor.
As we all know, China moved marketwards from a near insane communism and has been growing explosively since. India moved marketwards from a near insane Fabianism and has been growing explosively since....but what about Africa? It would be fair to say that this neo-liberalism thing got there a little later. Mid 1990s sounds about right, so, how's it been working?
The conventional wisdom that Africa is not reducing poverty is wrong..... we estimate income distributions, poverty rates, and inequality and welfare indices for African countries for the period 1970‐2006. We show that: African poverty is falling and is falling rapidly. .... The growth spurt that began in 1995 decreased African income inequality instead of increasing it. African poverty reduction is remarkably general: it cannot be explained by a large country, or even by a single set of countries possessing some beneficial geographical or historical characteristic. All classes of countries, including those with disadvantageous geography and history, experience reductions in poverty. In particular, poverty fell for both landlocked as well as coastal countries; for mineral‐rich as well as mineral‐poor countries; for countries with favorable or with unfavorable agriculture; for countries regardless of colonial origin; and for countries with below‐ or above median slave exports per capita during the African slave trade.
How amazing: our melanin enhanced brethren are indeed our brethren, they react to and take advantage of economic incentives just as we do. Allowed the freedom to create, innovate and create wealth, wealth they create. Whatever ordure dumped upon them from that great height in the past by near insane economic policies and the thugs and crooks that have ruled them, peace, easy taxes and the tolerable administration of justice have been doing their thing.
Or as those desiring that near a billion people escape poverty and join us in enjoying the fruits of the bourgeois lifestyle should perhaps be saying, neo-liberalism is dead: long live neo-liberalism.