Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Worldwide poverty has dropped and dropped

Around the world deep poverty is dropping and dropping and is now below 10%. This is huge: until 1860 it was over 90%! Everyone! This is very good news. 

The term means per person income of less than $1.90 per day, indexed for inflation and adjusted for different countrys’ cost levels. 

Glen Reynolds explains at USA Today
… For most of human history, of course, extreme poverty was the norm. People worked hard to get — if they were lucky — three meals a day and clothes on their backs. Money was scarce, possessions were few, leisure existed only when all the work was done, which was seldom, and capital for investment was scarce — as were things to invest in.
Deaths from sickness and violence were common: As Steven Pinker has noted, human beings back in the era before nation states developed had a 15% chance of dying by violence; numbers today are vastly lower. This is true, he notes, despite the number of deaths from wars and civil wars.

Charles Kenny even wrote in The Atlantic that 2015 was the best year ever in the history of humanity. Wars have become less common and less deadly (though better publicized), while vaccines and medicines have reduced sickness and death. Kenny writes: “The UN reported this year that global child mortality from all causes has more than halved since 1990. That means 6.7 million fewer kids under the age of five are dying each year compared to 1990. Nearly 7 million families avoided the pain of burying their child in 2015 who would have gone through it if the world hadn’t seen two and a half decades of historically unprecedented progress against childhood illness.”
Graphic: At Instapundit.

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