Oliver Wiseman at CapX:
Take a look at the world poverty clock, which shows in real time the fall in the number of people living in extreme poverty. Or consider two recent bestsellers – Enlightenment Now by the American Psychology Professor Steven Pinker and Factfulness by the late Hans Rosling – both of which have gone some way to bridging the gap between people’s hardwired pessimism and the much happier truth about the state of the world. Under Marian Tupy, a CapX regular, the team at Humanprogress.org works as a kind of societal fitbit, keeping count of the steps humanity takes in the right direction. Over at Our World in Data, Max Roser and his colleagues produce richly detailed graphics that help bring that progress to life. This is the tip of the iceberg, and the result of all these endeavours, and many, many more, is a body of evidence that is as overwhelmingly persuasive as it is reassuring.
Some, however, remain unconvinced. Writing in the Guardian this week, Jason Hickel, an anthropologist at the University of London, argues that this good news story, in particular the dramatic fall in extreme poverty is a “powerful narrative”, but “completely wrong”.