Right Thinking From The Left Coast
No legacy is so rich as honesty - William Shakespeare

Saturday, December 04, 2010

200 Countries, 200 Years, Four Minutes

BBC has a wonderful video showing the reality of human progress:

I would go even further, plotting back the bulk of human history, such as we know it, when the the vast majority of humans were poor and sick.  You could do this with any statistic.  Stephen Moore and Julian Simon authored a book a few years back called It’s Getting Better All The Time which was nothing but stats like the ones above—showing the decline of racism, the rise of human health and wealth and the fall in inequality.

Of course, the principal causes of these improvement in the condition are the rise of free markets, the breakdown of trade barriers, the industrial revolution and the improvements in constitutional government and the rule of law.  You know, the kind of stuff that is always blamed by the hard Left for our problems.

(On the subject of invisible improvements in the human condition: Freakonomics talks about the 90% drop in fire deaths over the last century.  Fire codes have helped, obviously.  But so has technological innovation.)

Update: Here’s another thought.  If you had taken bets 200 years ago about how that graph would change, very few would have predicted it would go the way it did.  The same is true of 1850 or 1900 or 1950.  In fact, in the 1970’s, all “smart people”, notably Paul Ehrlich, boldly predicted that first world would fall apart.  Instead, the opposite happened—the third world surged ahead while the first world kept rising.

This is why I remain optimistic about the future, despite everything that’s going on.  We tend to find ways to solve our problems.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/04/10 at 06:10 PM in Deep Thoughts  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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