Friday, November 09, 2007

The world is getting better!

I have believed for a long time that the world is getting better, not worse.
I have seen two things recently that help confirm that for me.
One is the quote below.
I must admit that I no longer know where the quote came from.
I usually check out my internet sources pretty well, so I believe it is from a reputable source.
The other is a talk given by the Swedish scientist Hans Rosling.
Fascinating to watch, and not only because of the excellent presentation.

It's not very popular to believe that things are getting better.
People will consider you a heretic along the lines of someone who doesn't believe in hell.
For some reason we enjoy being pessimistic.

As I’ve pointed out several times already, annual per capita income (in real dollars) was $90 in 12,000 BCE. It took nearly 14,000 years for it to double to $180 in 1750. By 2000 it was $6,600 a year! The number of people in the world living on less than a $1 a day (in real dollars) was 84% in 1820. Today it is less than 20% and expected to be less than 10% by 2020. All of this during a period when the world population grew from less than 1 billion people to 6 billion people! Furthermore, in all but a handful of nations the number of number of children dying before their first birthday has fallen to well under 10% (less than 1% in developed nations), life expectancy has risen by 50-100%. No nation that engages in open trade with other nations has experienced famine in the last fifty years. Disease after disease is being eradicated.
We live in an era of the greatest expansion in widely shared wealth and health in the history of humanity! By historical standards, the last 300 years of human history are just stunning.

Click here for the Hans Rosling video.

No comments: