Why Global Economic Development Is Not Entirely Pessimistic: A Look Into The Improving Average Quality Of Life
People around the world may be shocked by the amount of poverty that exists and the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor.
However, it is untrue that things are getting worse with each successive generation.
In reality, our average quality of life is at an historical high – we might not all have equal wealth in different parts of the world, but wealth isn’t everything.
Through reading this book summary, you’ll come to understand why our quality of life is progressively improving in spite of what popular belief claims.
You’ll also be shown why there isn’t any single approach to growing a country’s riches, as well as why pessimism isn’t necessarily a realistic outlook on current global economic development.
Finally, you’ll find out what people can do to make the entire world an even better place for everyone.
The Richest-Poorest Gap Between Countries: A Staggering Divide
The income gap between rich and poor countries has been steadily growing since the 1950s.
Of course, it wasn’t always like this – in 1850, while the Netherlands was the richest country with an income per capita of $2,371, other nations around the globe weren’t far behind.
However, more recently (in 2008) its income per capita was much higher at $24,695 compared to Congo-Zaire at only $249.
What’s more shocking is that in 1993 India’s bottom 40-percent had an income comparable to that of an English peasant from the 1400s!
This just goes to show how much of a difference there can be in average incomes from nation to nation.
It’s no wonder why so many people are striving for equal economic opportunities across all countries; it prevents individuals from facing an insurmountable financial deficit before they even get started in life.
The gap between rich and poor countries around the globe is nothing new – unfortunately, it’s been growing for decades.
The Complexity Of Economic Growth: Why Economists Have No Master Plan For Launching Poor Countries Into Sustained Growth
Economists don’t have an infallible recipe for helping underdeveloped countries achieve economic growth and prosperity.
Economic growth theories are not only baffled by the lack of progress in certain countries, but they also generally assume that all countries fall into one category, despite the fact that evidence on the ground speaks otherwise.
Take Zambia, for example: even though its investment rate from 1960 to 1994 was strong, its GDP per capita barely reached $600 by the end of this period – leagues away from the expected figure of over $20,000.
This is because economic growth is hugely complex, so much so that there’s only one scientifically viable empirical paper on it – which states that economic literacy would reply to how to foster economic growth with “It depends!”.
The truth of the matter is that no universal golden rule has been found due to a diversity of contexts; furthermore, since economics makes predictions about future growth with much less accuracy than it explains past cases, trial and error might be our only hope towards development.
We Should Appreciate How Far We’vecome: From The Middle Ages To Universal Quality Of Life Progress
It’s incredible to think that what we are experiencing today in terms of quality of life is something our ancestors could only have imagined a hundred years ago.
Truly, the progress that has taken place in both the health, education, civil and political rights, access to infrastructure and communication sectors has been rapid and unprecedented – across the globe.
For instance, infant mortality rates globally have halved since 1960 while the number of people who report they’re happy is rising all around us.
Meanwhile, literacy rates in Sub-Saharan Africa have gone up to two-thirds of its population over the same time period – a rise from just one-third before!
Even more impressive perhaps is how life expectancy in MENA (Middle East and North Africa) have gone up by twenty-one years between 1962 and 2002.
What’s more amazing is that such progress isn’t just happening in specific places – it’s occurring everywhere!
In fact there’s now growing equality regarding quality of life among countries so much so that nowadays there’s good health for everyone no matter their financial situation or location.
Plus a universal increase in global average life expectancy since 1900 which was at thirty-one years compared to sixty six by 2000 holds true even for countries considered underdeveloped or poor.
So really next time you grumble about your lot in life take a few minutes to appreciate that living today versus living centuries ago yields astonishingly different outcomes for ourselves due to this worldwide transformation we are seeing for better quality of life at an unprecedented rate!
It’S Clear That Low Income Isn’T Necessary For A Good Life: Here’S How Technology And Ideas Have Made It Possible
When it comes to improving the quality of life, we no longer need to rely on a high income.
Thanks to technological advances, supply and demand of technology and ideas have significantly lowered the costs of living for everyone.
In agriculture for example, improvements in productivity have caused food prices to decrease by around 50 percent since the mid-1900s, making access to sufficient calories so inexpensive that even in low-income regions people are becoming obese.
Additionally, global spread of certain hygiene practices such as adding small amounts of bleach to drinking water have helped reduce diarrhea cases by 50 to 80 percent.
And oral rehydration with a solution of sugar, salt and water has been effectively used for treatments for cholera and other causes of diarrhea.
Moreover, government services such as education, health care and political organizations are constantly being improved in terms of delivery levels which make them more affordable and accessible than ever before.
Ultimately, what we need to improve quality of life is now cheaper and more widely available than ever before; which provides us with amazing opportunities for a better way of living.
Human Progress Is Measured By More Than Just Income Growth
It’s a common misconception that income growth is the most important indicator of progress, but in reality it’s not.
The confusion between economic growth and “development” has led many people to believe this, when in reality, it’s quality of life metrics such as life expectancy, education, or political liberty which are the best indicators of development.
For example, even though incomes have stayed the same in some countries, life expectancy heve been increasing dramatically.
This shows that income plays only a part in true development.
So what do we really want from development? Not just economic growth but rather improvements in health care, education and security – with income merely being a means to those ends.
If we take into account these metrics then actually humanity is doing pretty well: Poverty rates have decreased globally and child mortality has significantly dropped while life expectancy is longer than ever before.
In conclusion, if we want to determine true human progress then quality of life should always take precedence over income growth.
It is this broader view of “development” that provides us with an accurate picture of the current situation and reveals our steady progress towards improving the good life for us all.
The Golden Rule Of Economic Development: Focus On Quality Of Life Progress
When it comes to economic development, it’s clear that policies should be focused on improving quality of life.
This may not immediately lead to economic growth, but there is evidence that over a longer period of time, quality-of-life improvements can have a positive impact on economic results.
For instance, the reduction in child mortality due to better health care causes a demographic transition towards more adults per child which can benefit from better economic performance.
Similarly, investing in governmental structures helps spread knowledge about health and hygiene and quality education provides people with more opportunities in general.
Above all else though, policymakers should always avoid any choices that put rapid income growth ahead of quality of life.
As it turns out, we don’t have enough knowledge to know what reforms will truly drive economic growth, so anything that sacrifices quality of life for quick gains really isn’t worth it in the end.
Historical examples such as communism or neo-liberalism show this quite clearly – with poor long-term economic growth despite sacrificing peoples’ quality of life for it.
It’s clear then: when it comes to development policies, supporting improvements on the issue of quality of life should always be priority number one.
A Global Push For Better Quality Of Life Is Needed – The Solution Begins With Reasonable Trade And Migration Policies
It is clear that the global community – particularly wealthy countries – should embrace their responsibility to help the developing world.
After all, most of us agree on universal principles such as providing a peaceful society, solid infrastructure, quality healthcare and education.
It’s essential then to ensure these conditions are available to people across borders if we are to improve our overall quality of life on a global scale.
This means following reasonable migration policies and allowing more open flows of people between countries.
It also necessitates economic policies that promote useful trade and technology transfer while facilitating access to universal goods like health care and education in poorer nations.
Crucially, these efforts offer greater benefits than their costs, making them an effective use of global resources.
Though there may be uncertainty about the best way to improve our global quality of life, this does not mean we shouldn’t try.
Inaction would be worse than taking action that isn’t perfect – even if it’s just a dollar from a flat-screen TV going towards an insecticide-treated bed net for a child in Africa.
Overall, there is an obligation for wealthy countries to support developing ones for everyone’s mutual benefit and progress.
The bottom line is that despite the challenges we face in terms of global sustainability, humanity has made amazing advancements in quality of life.
In order to further improve the world and people’s quality of life, we should focus on both understanding how to foster income growth, and supporting programs that enhance quality of life.
The best actionable advice when it comes to this book? Put things into perspective and really think through your actions before spending money on unnecessary items; consider instead investing it where it could make a positive difference.
We have a lot to be thankful for – let’s start supporting initiatives that will help lift others out of poverty and bring them closer to realising their potential too!