My Cato colleague, Johan Norberg, has just published his latest book, called Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future. I first came across Norberg's thoughtful writing in 2003, when, in response to the Battle of Seattle and other anti-globalization protests, he published In Defense of Global Capitalism. The book made a persuasive case in favor of global trade. Thirteen years later, as the current U.S. presidential campaign shows, the book, and the arguments it contains, continue to be relevant.
But back to Progress. The book, as the title suggests, documents progress that humanity has made in ten crucial areas: food supply, sanitation, life expectancy, poverty, violence, the environment, literacy, freedom, equality and the next generation (i.e., child labor). It has been favorably reviewed in The Economist, The (British) Spectator and, mirabile dictu, The Guardian.
I am glad to report that Cato has organized a book forum for Norberg on October 12, with Reason's science correspondent Ronald Bailey as commentator. The books by both authors (Bailey published his own tribute to human progress entitled The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-first Century in 2015) will be on sale.
1. Globally, food supply is at an all-time high. Even in Africa, people consume well in excess of the USDA-recommended 2,000 calories per person per day.
2. Globally, some 75 percent of people have access to improved sanitation (e.g., flush toilets, septic tanks, sewers, etc.), which is important, because unhygienic disposal of human excreta has been a leading source of illness in the developing world.
4. The share of people living in absolute poverty, the Brookings Institution researchers believe, has never been smaller.
6. There are also good signs for the environment, as we pollute less in spite of a growing population and larger economic output.
This article first appeared in Reason.
Marian L. Tupy is a senior policy analyst at the Cato Institute and editor of HumanProgress.org.
- VideoIntroducing the New and Improved HumanProgress.orgMarch 28, 2018
- ExclusiveWhy Won't the UN Say What Really Reduces Poverty?October 27, 2017
- ExclusiveThe World's Getting Better All the TimeDecember 20, 2017