Many times, if we attend to the news, it will seem that the world is getting worse. In fact, except for some indicators, the world is getting better and better. This is contrary to what can be expected intuitively or what may seem to us looking at certain indicators, but when we see the “big picture”, we see that it is true.
How is it getting better? And the crisis? It is true that there are areas that may have worsened a little, but the truth is that if we look at the whole world, we will see that so many people had never been able to read and write, extreme poverty had never fallen so low, or that there are fewer and fewer wars.
So on these dates, we are going to review a series of graphs that show that every time the world is better and we are closer to a utopia.
Let’s start with the Human Development Index, which combines not only GDP per capita, but also literacy and life expectancy, which is why some people consider it a better alternative to GDP. Well, the HDI has improved on all continents and in all geographies.
Extreme poverty about to be eradicated?
I am tired of hearing that the poor are getting poorer and the rich richer. The first statement is completely false. If we look at the real poor (those who live on less than one or two dollars a day), each time they are a smaller percentage of the population. Let’s see for example the following graphic:
At the beginning of the 19th century, extreme poverty (defined as the parity of purchasing power by the population living on less than a dollar a day), hovered around 90% of the population in 1980, had been reduced to less than 50% and today in day it is estimated that around 10% of the population live with less than $ 1.90 per day. Jeffrey Sachs spoke in his book The End of Poverty, of how our generation could see extreme poverty eradicated, well, we are close to this point.
In addition ** also reduces child mortality and hunger globally **, in the last three decades the proportion of people killed by malnutrition have fallen to levels lower than any seen before in history. Also the percentage of children who die before the age of five is lower than 5%, compared to 20% in the mid-20th century.
An increasingly educated and peaceful world
Do we complain that the education system is worse and that young people are less prepared? It is possible, but seen from a global perspective, if in the mid-50s around half of the population could not read or write, this has been reduced to less than 20% of the population in this decade. In addition, in most of the world the proportion of school children is growing, so that the illiteracy rate will foreseeably be reduced
In addition, as you can see, ** deaths from wars are decreasing more and more throughout the XX and XXI century **. Maybe a small rebound in recent years, but much better when compared to the situation in the 70s or 80s.
Environment, the point to improve
If there is one aspect where I accept unquestionably that the situation is not getting better, it is the Environment. Economic development implies more consumption, more pressure on natural resources and on the environment. If we have improved the situation of people, our next step should be to improve the environment, as shown by carbon dioxide emissions, whose concentration in parts per million has not stopped growing in recent years:
However, the declining cost of renewable energy (mainly solar and wind) suggests that in the future developing countries will choose them, not for their environmental benefit but for their low cost, making the pressure on the environment lower to the expected, especially if in parallel the developed countries we are transitioning little by little to sources of cleaner energies. Although we will talk about this another day.
Am I too optimistic? Call it Christmas spirit.