(p. A2) Rising incomes alone cannot capture how much better life has gotten. “Nathan Rothschild was surely the richest man in the world when he died in 1836,” economists Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina wrote in 2017. “But the cause of his death was an infection–a condition that can now be treated with antibiotics sold for less than a couple of cents. Today, only the very poorest people in the world would die in the way that the richest man of the 19th century died.”
Mr. Roser is the founder of Our World in Data, a website that tracks the evolution of human welfare over the last few centuries. Scroll through the charts, articles and data sets, and you will be stunned by how much better life has become in just the last few decades: Child mortality, illiteracy and deaths from violence have all plummeted, and life expectancy has gone up.
For the full commentary, see:
Greg Ip. “Stop Calling It ‘Vocational Training’; How we speak about education reflects class prejudice.” The Wall Street Journal (Wednesday, January 3, 2019): A2.
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Jan. 2, 2019, and has the title “CAPITAL ACCOUNT; The World Is Getting Quietly, Relentlessly Better.”)
The Roser and Oritz-Ospina piece mentioned above, is:
Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina (2018) – “Global Extreme Poverty”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: ‘https://ourworldindata.org/extreme-poverty’ [Online Resource]