The World is a Better Place – Good News to tell Doomsayers – Max Roser

Economist: Think the world’s getting worse? Think again

August 10, 2015

There are answers to these questions, they’re often just not very accessible.


LONDON: Turn on the news or listen to doom-mongers in politics and the media, and you could be forgiven for thinking the world is a more violent and unequal place than ever, but according to economist Max Roser, we’ve never had it so good in many ways.

Roser, based at the University of Oxford, spends his time digging through data on human living standards across countries and decades, and makes jazzy graphs and slides for his website and his 30,000 Twitter followers.

Reams of data on living standards are pumped out every day by governments, charities and international organizations, said Roser, but much is hidden behind paywalls or buried in the footnotes of obscure reports. “Often they go and put their spreadsheets out on a server and think their job is done.”

Roser looks at factors like war, disease and poverty, which are all declining, as well as life expectancy, food provision and years of schooling, which are all rising.

His sunny disposition on most matters is grounded in the data, all cited on his website, but he stresses he is not an optimist as a matter of faith, pointing to climate change and government surveillance as things that are getting worse.

Some of his findings, such as increased life expectancy, are unsurprising, but others, like a decline in deaths caused by violence, are perhaps less obvious in a world in which a militant attack that kills one is more likely to grab the headlines than a vaccine which quietly saves millions.

Roser, currently a fellow at Oxford, thinks too much analysis focuses on very recent trends, leading us to miss the bigger picture which, with some hiccups and exceptions, is an overwhelmingly positive one, with huge changes coming due to vaccines, better nutrition and economic growth.

Diseases conquered

Millions of people are alive today because of the near-elimination of tetanus and polio, and the eradication of smallpox, a disease which killed more than 15 percent of Londoners during periods of the 18th century.

Deaths from malaria, the disease which Roser speculates may have killed more people than anything else in human history, have been decreasing in absolute terms since 2004 even as the global population continues to climb.

HIV/AIDS caused life expectancy in many African countries to plummet from the 60s to the 40s in the 1990s and 2000s, but antiretroviral treatments have made these rebound just as quickly in countries like Botswana, South Africa and Kenya.

Food production has more than kept pace with population growth, making hunger and famine rarer than they used to be, despite a more crowded planet.

This is because technology and innovation has made farming more productive, allowing more food to be made on less land. More than half of people in France and Italy worked on farms two centuries ago, while nowadays less than 5% do.

Growing economic inequality is a common source of grievance in the Western world, and a legitimate one, according to Roser.

However, in countries like India and China, hundreds of millions of people have escaped rural poverty and joined the urban middle class, causing a huge decline in global inequality. “The incomes of the poor are rising faster than the incomes of the rich,” he said.

Having recently secured new funding, Roser is looking to continue his research on global living conditions and share his findings as widely as possible. “There are answers to these questions, they’re often just not very accessible,” he said. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

– Reuters


The World is a Better Place – Good News to tell Doomsayers

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Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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