Shhh! World Is Becoming A Better Place

Stephen Moore calls attention to a UN report that–for some reason–didn’t get much play in the media:

A new United Nations report called “State of the Future” concludes: “People around the world are becoming healthier, wealthier, better educated, more peaceful, more connected, and they are living longer.”
Yes, of course, there was the obligatory bad news: Global warming is said to be getting worse and income disparities are widening. But the joyous trends in health and wealth documented in the report indicate a gigantic leap forward for humanity. This is probably the first time you’ve heard any of this because–while the grim “Global 2000” and “Limits to Growth” reports were deemed worthy of headlines across the country–the media mostly ignored the good news and the upbeat predictions of “State of the Future.”
But here they are: World-wide illiteracy rates have fallen by half since 1970 and now stand at an all-time low of 18%. More people live in free countries than ever before. The average human being today will live 50% longer in 2025 than one born in 1955.
To what do we owe this improvement? Capitalism, according to the U.N. Free trade is rightly recognized as the engine of global prosperity in recent years. In 1981, 40% of the world’s population lived on less than $1 a day. Now that percentage is only 25%, adjusted for inflation. And at current rates of growth, “world poverty will be cut in half between 2000 and 2015”–which is arguably one of the greatest triumphs in human history. Trade and technology are closing the global “digital divide”…
The media’s collective yawn over “State of the Future” is typical of the reaction to just about any good news. When 2006 was declared the hottest year on record, there were thousands of news stories. But last month’s revised data, indicating that 1934 was actually warmer, barely warranted a paragraph-long correction in most papers.
So I’m happy to report that the world’s six billion people are living longer, healthier and more comfortably than ever before. If only it were easy to fit that on a button.

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16 years ago

A heads up – the Connecticut GOP is planning to invade you.

16 years ago

Damn. We must have repelled them.
If we promise this time to stand on the Broad Street Bridge with executed surrender papers, do you think they’d try again …?

16 years ago

Maybe I’m missing something, but I haven’t heard any calls for the nationalization of industries, or a centrally planned economy here in the US. That is what socialism really is. Marc, you are trying to foist a false choice on us. The choice is not a black/white distinction between capitalism and socialism. The choice is what flavor of capitalism we’re going to have. While I applaud the raising of standards of living around the globe, you have to acknowledge that this same capitalism is lowering standards of living in the US. MSN had a story a few weeks back that said Americans actually have LESS discretionary income than they had 30 yrs ago. It’s counterintuitive, but bear with me. Yes, we have more gadgets. But that’s because prices have dropped. An 18″ color TV from 1973, adjusted for inflation, would cost over $2,000 in 2007 dollars. So, that’s great. The problem is that housing and health care are eating up nearly 75% of discretionary income, significantly more than before. Plus, having a job is no guarantee of being able to afford a decent place to live. In many cities, teachers, firefighters, and other middle class people can’t afford to buy a house. Nor can someone count on advancing as he/she gets older. One popular trick is to fire a manager who’s been in place for 5 yrs and replace him with a subordinate who makes thousands of dollars less. The manager, probably in his mid-forties, is stuck taking a $10/hr job, and 5 years down the road his replacement gets the same treatment. Or, Circuit City simply fires everyone with more than 10 years on the job. Used to be, these employees were valued for their experience. Now, they’re a liability because they’re making too much money at $18/hr. That’s… Read more »

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