Friday, March 07, 2008

A tiny point of light, amidst the chaotic darkness this week

Here is some good news from a recent paper by Harvard economist Andrei Shleifer titled "The Age of Milton Friedman":

The last quarter century has witnessed remarkable progress of mankind. The world’s per capita inflation-adjusted income rose from $5,400 in 1980 to $8,500 in 2005 (see chart above). Schooling and life expectancy grew rapidly, while infant mortality and poverty fell just as fast. With the conspicuous exceptions of China and the Middle East, the world has made significant strides in democratization. Compared to 1980, many more countries in the world are democratic today.

We’ve seen remarkable declines in infant mortality in all regions, with the worldwide population-weighted average dropping from 64.5 to 37.5 per thousand births. The World Bank reports that between 1980 and 2000, the share of the world’s population living on less than $1 a day fell from 34.8 percent to 19 percent. It forecasts that the number of people living on less than $1 a day will continue to fall sharply despite population growth, and account for 10 percent of the world’s population by 2015. Billions of people in Asia have been lifted out of poverty thanks to economic growth.
(via Mark Perry)

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