It’s 2020. A year for the history books. I figured we all needed some good news to fight the unrelenting negativity of the media. The following good news contains an important financial lesson. The human capacity to grow, change, and innovate is absolutely incredible. If you’re worried about the stock market stopping its 200-year positive run, try this on for size:
In 1981, 42% of human beings lived in poverty. By 2018, that number had dropped to 8.6%.
The incidence of armed conflict has decreased substantially in the past few decades.
The chance of a person dying from a natural catastrophe (earthquake, flood, drought, storm, wildfire, or landslide) has declined 99% since the 1920s and ’30s.
90% of the world’s population was illiterate in 1820. Today the world literacy rate is over 90%.
In 1870, the average time globally that a human being in the world spent in school was six months. That number is now eight and a half years.
The IQ’s of people of the world are growing at an incredible pace. IQ over the past hundred years has increased 30 points. How is that possible? No one knows for sure, but it probably has something to do with better nutrition, mentally challenging media, more schooling, and a reduction in childhood diseases.
Mothers died 1% of the time during childbirth in the 18th century. Now it is 500 times less.
Smallpox, in the 20th century, accounted for between 300 and 500 million deaths. That is almost unimaginable. Prior to 1980, 30% of people who became infected died. Now the disease has been completely eradicated by vaccines.
Since 1990, the number of people dying from cancer has dropped by 17% due to advances in medical treatments.
In the past thirty years, homicide rates have been reduced by 17%.
Military spending is going down. In the past fifty years, 6% of the world’s GDP (gross domestic product) was spent on the military. That number is now 2.2%.
For thousands of years the Earth was inhabited by hunter-gatherer societies. They worked between three and eight hours a day. Once they found their food, they stopped.
Once we became more of an agrarian society, the average person worked between eight and twelve hours a day (depending on the time of year), six days a week.
By 1830, the country was industrialized and the average American urban worker worked ten to twelve hours a day, six days a week.
Today we stand at eight hours a day, five days a week. Even that has been reduced by 20% since 1950.
The number of countries with legalized slavery has dropped from sixty in the year 1800 to zero today.
One hundred years ago almost no land on Earth was deemed as “protected and regulated.” Yosemite Park was one of the few. Today fifteen percent of the Earth is protected under these laws, which is twice the size of the United States.
Since 1910 economists have warned that the Earth is running out of oil. However, the world has pumped nearly one trillion barrels of oil since 1980. Oil reserves now stand at 1.7 trillion barrels. At the current rate of consumption, oil will run out in fifty years. Alternative energy is predicted to overcome the use of fossil fuels in the next 20 to 30 years. It appears we will be left with a significant surplus of oil before it runs out. It appears energy may soon be renewable and infinite.
In the past fifty years, the prevalence of malnourishment in the world has dropped from 37% to 10%.
In the past thirty years, world access to electricity rose from 71% to 87%.
In the past thirty years, access to clean water in the world rose from 76% to 91%.
Seventy-three percent of Sub-Saharan Africa owns a smartphone. A Nigerian coal miner can send money to his mother in Lagos. A fisherman in the Congo can warn his friends about bad weather.
In the U.S., emissions of carbon monoxide fell 73% in the past thirty years.
Wow, that was a lot to take in. No matter what doom and gloom the media likes to heap upon you, never forget that we live in the wealthiest and safest world in human history.
Source: Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know by Ronald Bailey and Marian Tupy.