Friday, February 21, 2014

Can we recognize the best of times ...

... as well as contemplate the worst of times?

More people have seen their lives improve more quickly in the past few decades than perhaps at any time in human history. In 1990, more than 40 percent of the world lived in extreme poverty. By 2015, the World Bank predicts, the figure will be just 16 percent. Among people who work in global development, the goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030 is now controversial because it’s not considered ambitious enough.

As extreme poverty has fallen, so too has child mortality. The number of children dying before their fifth birthday has declined by about a third since 1990. This is in part because of extraordinary progress in fighting diseases that prey on the young. India, for instance, just celebrated its third year without a single case of polio.

Rapid development in China, and India is among the best news in the history of the human race. It will also profoundly alter the U.S. role in the world -- and its sense of mission and place -- as the century wears on. The U.S. will not be, and should not be, the world’s largest economy for long. That shift will be accompanied by loss of the pre-eminence in global affairs that the U.S. has known -- and exploited -- since World War II.

Ezra Klein, Bloomberg View, 2/19/2014

I like to try to remember this when I contemplate a world full of violence and danger.

Klein goes on to point out that anything can happen. And his picture doesn't include abrupt climate change, as it should. Still ... a lot less children are dying.

1 comment:

Hattie said...

One big part of this is that people in most parts of the world are having smaller families. This is making quite a difference. However, what people expect for this is a middle class standard of living and good opportunities for their children.

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