The issue of Tibet is an intensely debated topic with much of the polemic revolving around political autonomy and the abuse of civil, political, and cultural rights. Despite evident violations in these areas, the Chinese government counters that on the economic level it has been playing an important developmental and welfare role in Tibet. It argues that it has been facilitating the long-term transition of a backward region into the modern global economy and empowering Tibetans to participate on an equal footing with other Chinese citizens. The Chinese government thereby expects the international community to tolerate human rights abuses as an expedient element of their beneficial economic strategies. This assumes, however, that the economic role of the Chinese state in Tibet has been positive for Tibetans. Poverty by Design: The Economics of Discrimination in Tibet illustrates that, despite China's commitment to the United Nation's “Declaration on the Right to Development”, government statistics reveal a clear trend towards the marginalization of ethnic Tibetans within both the national economy and within the local economy of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).