Bear with us for a second.
Yes, the world is suffering through wars, famine, poverty, and some seriously dodgy leadership stints, but there are actually a number of ways in which the world is improving.
The below will be important to remember on January 21, otherwise known as the most depressing day of the year.
As is to be expected, “not only do many people across advanced economies have no idea that the world is becoming a much better place, but they actually even think the opposite”.
That was the finding by Swedish academic Hans Rosling, so let’s outline some of the ways the world is improving with the help of Business Insider.
First up, Life expectancy continues to rise:
Even during the Industrial Revolution, average life expectancy across European countries did not exceed around 35 years. This does not imply that most people died in their late 30s or even 40s, since it was mostly very high levels of child mortality rates that pulled down the average. Women dying in childbirth was obviously a big problem too. So were some common diseases such as smallpox and the plague, for example, which now have been completely eradicated in high-income countries.
Child mortality continues to fall:
More than a century ago, child mortality rates were still exceeding 10% – even in high-income countries such as the US and the UK. But thanks to modern medicine, and better public safety in general, this number has been reduced to almost zero in rich countries.
GDP growth has accelerated in developed countries
Technological leaders, the US and Western Europe, have been growing at about 2% per year, on average, for the past 150 years. This means that real income levels roughly double every 36 years…
Low-income countries, including China and India, have been growing at a significantly faster pace in recent decades and are quickly catching up to the West. A 10% growth rate over a prolonged period means that income levels double roughly every seven years. It is obviously good news if prosperity is more shared across the globe.
Must be nice.
Global income inequality has gone down
While inequality within countries has gone up as a result of globalisation, global inequality has been on a steady downward trend for several decades. This is mostly a result of developing countries such as China and India where hundreds of millions of people have seen their living standards improve. In fact, for the first time ever since the Industrial Revolution, about half of the global population can be considered global middle class.
As you can see from the blue graphic, Africa still has plenty of work to do.
We’ll finish up with conflicts are on the decline:
Throughout history, the world has been riven by conflict. In fact, at least two of the world’s largest powers have been at war with each other more than 50% of the time since about 1500.
While the early 20th century was especially brutal with two world wars in rapid succession, the postwar period has been very peaceful. For the first time ever, there has been no war or conflict in Western Europe in about three generations, And international organisations including the EU and the UN have led to a more stable world.
Those are five of the seven ways listed, so if you want to see the rest you can head over here.
Happy Thursday, I guess.
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