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Topic of Book
The authors overview important trends of progress in modern society.
This “coffee table” book presents 10 global trends and 78 sub-trends that can only be described as progress. Each trend includes a page or two of text along with very attractive graphs.
For those aware of human progress (of which there are far too few) there is nothing surprising in this book. But it nicely packages a substantial portion of the trends of progress. Given the content in this book, my summary is short.
Important Quotes from Book
“You can’t fix what is wrong in the world if you don’t know what’s actually happening. In this book, straightforward charts and graphs, combined with succinct explanations, will provide you with easily understandable access to the facts that busy people need to know about how the world is really faring.
Polls show that most smart people tend to believe that the state of the world is getting worse rather than better.”
“This dark view of the prospects for humanity and the natural world is, in large part, badly mistaken. We demonstrate it in these pages using uncontroversial data taken from official and scientific sources.”
“TREND 1 THE GREAT ENRICHMENT”
“Since 1820, the size of the world’s economy has grown more than a hundredfold. Over the past 200 years, the world population grew somewhat less than eightfold.”
“TREND 2 THE END OF POVERTY”
“as late as 1820, nearly 84 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty (roughly on less than $1.90 per day per person).”
“Maintaining the current rate of poverty reduction would result in less than 5 percent of the world’s population living in destitution in 2030. ”
“TREND 3 ARE WE RUNNING OUT OF RESOURCES?”
“Adjusted for inflation, however, 43 commodities declined in price, 2 remained equally valuable, and only 5 commodities increased in price. On average, the real price of 50 commodities fell by 36.3 percent.17
Between 1980 and 2017, the inflation-adjusted global hourly income per person also grew by 80.1 percent. Therefore, for the amount of work required, commodities became 64.7 percent cheaper. ”
“TREND 4 PEAK POPULATION”
“World population will likely peak at 9.8 billion people at around 2080 and fall to 9.5 billion by 2100”
“Other global trends—such as steeply falling child mortality rates, increased urbanization, rising incomes, and the spread of political and economic freedom—all strongly correlate with families’ choosing to have fewer children. ”
“TREND 5 THE END OF FAMINE”
“Since 1961, the global average population weighted food supply per person per day rose from 2,196 calories to 2,962 calories in 2017.”
“TREND 6 MORE LAND FOR NATURE”
“The global tree canopy increased by 2.24 million square kilometers (865,000 square miles) between 1982 and 2016”
“Expanding woodlands suggests that humanity has begun the process of withdrawing from the natural world, which, in turn, will provide greater scope for other species to rebound and thrive.”
“TREND 7 PLANET CITY”
“According to the United Nations, the share of humanity living in cities rose from 751 million (29 percent) in 1950 to 4.2 billion (55 percent) in 2018”
“TREND 8 DEMOCRACY ON THE MARCH”
“The Center for Systemic Peace evaluates the characteristics of a political regime in each country on a scale from -10, which denotes a tyranny like North Korea, to 10, which denotes a politically free society like Norway.
The percentage of countries that scored 7 and above, thus qualifying as full-fledged democracies, rose from 31 percent in 1989 to 49 percent in 2017”
“TREND 9 THE LONG PEACE”
“The incidence of armed conflict in the world ha[s] actually decreased substantially in the past few decades, although spiking up in 2014–2015. Interstate war (that is, war between states) has become a rare event.”
“TREND 10 A SAFER WORLD”
“The chance of a person dying in a natural catastrophe—earthquake, flood, drought, storm, wildfire, landslide, or epidemic—has declined by nearly 99 percent since the 1920s and 1930s”
- “Factfulness: Why Things are Better Than You Think” by Hans Rosling
- “Enlightenment Now” by Steven Pinker
- “Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future” by Johan Norberg
- “Future Perfect: The Case for Progress In a Networked Age” by Steven Johnson
- “Abundance: The Future Is Better than You Think” by Diamandis and Kotler
If you would like to learn more about Progress, read my book From Poverty to Progress.