Despite the recessions, terrorism tension, and natural disasters---as I have long argued--the world's never been safer, wealthier, or healthier. The UN Human Development Report 2010 is out and among the findings:
*Globalization is leading poor countries to catch up to rich countries on a scale never seen before.
*Since 1970, income in the developing world has risen 184 percent
*Literacy in the developing world has risen 61 percent since 1970.
*School enrollment and life expectancy have risen sharply in most developing nations.
*In 1970, just a third of nations had true democracy; today, the fraction is 60 percent.
*World literacy , is 84 percent now (that is VERY high).
*Life expectancies in Africa have grown by 15 years in the past 40 years.
*Oman, China, Nepal, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia are seeing the fastest overall development socially.
*Norway is the overall healthiest place to live. Zimbabwe is the worst.
*The USA is high upon the list as top places to live and China is far, far behind.
Marco was asking us about the terrorism alert here in Germany the other day. "Are we safe?" We told him about how when we were his age (and we're not that old), there were literally thousands of nuclear missiles pointed at each other between the Soviet Union and the USA.
When my father was his age, there were cities in Europe (including in Germany) that were 95% destroyed by bombs. Not Africa, Europe!
When my grandfather was Marco's age, most people would have been fortunate to make it past 50 without painful, disabling sickness.
I believe we are entering into the counter-action phase of this latest round of hyper-globalization. And many things will get worse and go wrong in the future. The speed of innovation is far surpassing our ability to manage what we create and this is going to continue to have negative consequences. But despite this, even since the mid-1990's,---even here in Europe, just 5 miles from this house in Berlin where a wall once stood----things are far better than they once were.