All things considered, do you think the world is getting better or worse?
Max Roser, in A History of Global Living Conditions in 5 Charts says that when we look for the answer we must consider the history of everyone. Looking back two centuries we can see that extreme poverty has declined sharply, child mortality has dropped from 43.3% to 4.39% dying in the first five years of life. At the same time, basic education, literacy, democracy and vaccinations have risen.
At a time of general fear that Donald Trump’s presidency will turn back the clock on progress, it helps to take the long view.
Regarding human rights, the best empirical data shows that “after a time of stagnation human right protection improved globally over the last 3 decades.”
“The empirical view of our world over the long term shows how the Enlightenment continues to make our world a better place. It chronicles how human societies became less violent and increasingly more democratic. The empirical evidence shows how new ideas continue to improve living standards, allowing us to live a healthier, richer and happier life. It is the story of declining poverty and better food provision in a world we care about.”
The very negative perspective of global development that most of us have does not fit with the empirical evidence.
That’s some good news.