In his usual sleight-of-hand manner, Noam Chomsky was fond of dismissing economic growth as a measure of progress by pointing out that the the relative prosperity of slaves increased in the US* before the Civil War, but we wouldn't call slavery a good system, would we?
No, but it's a hell of a good argument for free trade. If you are by definition at the bottom of a society where no one cares about your interests much, treats you horribly, and you have no control over your economic destiny, and your prosperity still increases, something must be going right somewhere, even if little of it is coming to you.
*As the slaves arriving after 1800 went to some of the worst conditions on cotton plantations, I'm not sure exactly what data Chomsky was using. You'd think they would bring down the average pretty severely.