Life is awesome. In fact, it’s so awesome so constantly that we’ve gotten used to it, and whenever one thing goes wrong, we start complaining and thinking that everything is suddenly terrible.
Thus we have the phrase “First World problems.” Naturally we also complain about things that are genuinely bad, but often, those bad things are not as bad as we think they are, or as bad as they used to be.
Even Andrew Carnegie, one of the richest men of his time, could not prevent his mother-in-law from dying of tuberculosis. Today, people don’t even get tuberculosis.
Take firearm deaths, for example. Firearm deaths are a terrible thing, and even just one is too much. But most people believe, and are led to believe by the media, that firearm deaths are increasing every year. However, firearm deaths have actually decreased by 50 percent over the last generation. They’re not at zero, so we still have a ways to go, but it’s a lot better now than it used to be. Not only that, but felonies committed with a firearm have declined by 75 percent.
Even war itself is more peaceable than it used to be. In World War Two, 300 out of every 100,000 people died in war. By the Korean War, only a few years later, only 20 out of every 100,000 people died in war. Today, only one person out of every 100,000 dies in war.
The same is true for poverty as well: in 1900, 70 percent of the world’s population lived in poverty. Fifty years later, that number had dropped to 50 percent. In the 1990s it had dropped to 30 percent. Today, less than 10 percent of the population lives in poverty. Never in the history of humanity has that number been so low.
This is not to say that every single person on earth is richer today than they were before – there are still many that struggle, and this cannot and should not be ignored. But, as a whole, the general population and individual classes are better off now than they used to be.
In fact, we can even afford more than Andrew Carnegie, one of the richest men of his time and possibly ever: even he, with all his wealth, could not prevent his mother-in-law from dying of tuberculosis. Today, people don’t even get tuberculosis.
The poor are getting richer, and life is getting better.
Antony Davies is an associate professor of economics at Duquesne University in Pittsburg.
He is a member of the FEE Faculty Network.
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.