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.