Ways The World Is Getting Better

Andrew Sullivan —  May 30 2014 @ 10:03am

Income Developing World

Here’s one:

 “For the first time in history, over the next several years, most new jobs in the developing world are likely to be of sufficient quality to allow workers and their families to live above the equivalent of the poverty line in the United States,” states the [International Labour Organisation].

Relatedly, reviewing Bjørn Lomborg’s How Much Have Global Problems Cost The World?: A Scorecard from 1900 to 2050, Yevgeniy Feyman concludes, “There has never been a better time to be alive”:

The doubling of human life expectancy is one of the most remarkable achievements of the past century. Consider, Lomborg writes, that “the twentieth century saw life expectancy rise by about 3 months for every calendar year.” The average child in 1900 could expect to live to just 32 years old; now that same child should make it to 70. This increase came during a century when worldwide economic output, driven by the spread of capitalism and freedom, grew by more than 4,000 percent. These gains occurred in developed and developing countries alike; among men and women; and even in a sense among children, as child mortality plummeted.

Why are we living so much longer? Massive improvements in public health certainly played an important role. The World Health Organization’s global vaccination efforts essentially eradicated smallpox. But this would have been impossible without the innovative methods of vaccine preservation developed in the private sector by British scientist Leslie Collier. Oral rehydration therapies and antibiotics have also been instrumental in reducing child mortality. Simply put, technological progress is the key to these gains – and market economies have liberated, and rewarded, technological innovation.