Ask most anyone and I would speculate that they would say the past decade wasn't the best given major world and U.S. events like 911, Afghanistan, Iraq, natural disasters and economic woes. That opinion, however, would be contrary to the facts presented by Charles Kenny, author of Getting Better, a soon-to-be-released book on global development.
Kenny cites the following facts to suggest that the 2000s were a great decade:
- Average worldwide income is 25% higher than it was a decade ago.
- Vaccine initiatives have helped cut the death rate from common diseases like measles by 60%.
- Child mortality is down 17%.
What are the reasons for the various improvements? Kenny writes that increased telecommunications (especially television) in Africa and Asia, coupled with better education and health practices to those long isolated by geography, has resulted in millions of people becoming better educated, more involved politically, and more aware of health issues, thus creating a cycle of progress.
(Source: New York Times Sunday Magazine, 12.19.10)