As a break from the dreary news headlines, consider the progress made over the last 50 years in a variety of areas.

This article is cross-posted from my other blog, Outrun Change. Can you see the connection of the following items to economic freedom and political freedom?

Matt Ridley offers a lot of Reasons to be cheerful.

Here is an overview:

Compared with any time in the past half century, the world as a whole is today wealthier, healthier, happier, cleverer, cleaner, kinder, freer, safer, more peaceful and more equal.

Look at the increase in wealth and the phenomenal increase in quality of life from the tech revolution:

The average person on the planet earns roughly three times as much as he or she did 50 years ago, corrected for inflation. If anything, this understates the improvement in living standards because it fails to take into account many of the incredible improvements in the things you can buy with that money. However rich you were in 1964 you had no computer, no mobile phone, no budget airline, no Prozac, no search engine, no gluten-free food.

Three times better, adjusted for inflation. Three times better without adjusting for having laptop computers, smart phones, the internet, and budget airlines.

How about living longer?

The average person lives about a third longer than 50 years ago and buries two-thirds fewer of his or her children (and child mortality is the greatest measure of misery I can think of).

Can we finally scrap that claptrap about the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer?

As for inequality, the world as a whole is getting rapidly more equal in income, because people in poor countries are getting richer at a more rapid pace than people in rich countries. That has now been true for two decades, but it has accelerated since the great recession.

Check out the article for a full dose of reasons to be cheerful and glad you are alive today.

Carpe Diem gives us a summary:  Matt Ridley gives us 12 great reasons to be cheerful. I will only quote the section headings.

  1. Income.

  2. Life Expectancy.

  3. Food.

  4. Disease.

  5. Education and IQ:

  6. Environment.

  7. Charitable Giving.

  8. Crime.

  9. Tolerance.

  10. Political Freedom and Democracy.

  11. Weather.

  12. Technology.

Check out the full article for a numbered list of reasons to be cheerful.


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