Swedish academic Hans Rosling has identified A worrying trend: Not only do many people in advanced economies know that the world is becoming a much better world, but they even think the opposite. This is not surprising when information focuses on disasters, terrorist attacks, wars and famines. Who wants to hear the fact that every day about 200,000 people around the world are lifted above the poverty line of $ 2 per day? Or that more than 300,000 people a day have access to electricity and drinking water for the first time everyday? These stories of people in low-income countries simply do not provide an exciting coverage of the news. But, as emphasized Rosling in his book Factfulnessit's important to put all the bad news in perspective. While globalization has put some downward pressure on the wages of the middle class in advanced economies in recent decades, it has also helped lift hundreds of millions of people above the poverty line – a development that has mainly occurred in Southeast Asia. The recent rise of populism that has swept Western countries, with Trump, The Brexit and the election of populists in Hungary and Italy, among other factors, are therefore very worrying for global welfare. Globalization is the only way to ensure shared economic prosperity among all the countries and not just some advanced economies. While some people glorify the past, one of the great facts of economic history is that until recently, a significant portion of the world's population lived in quite miserable conditions – and that's true of the past. human history. The following seven graphs show that the world has become a much better place than a few decades ago.

1: Life expectancy continues to increase

Even during the industrial revolution, the average life expectancy in European countries did not exceed about 35 years. This does not mean that most people died in their late thirties or even forties, as it is usually very high infant mortality rates that drove the average down. Women dying in childbirth were obviously also a big problem. The same has been true for some common diseases such as smallpox and plague, which have been completely eradicated in high-income countries.

2: Infant mortality continues to decline

More than a century ago, infant mortality rates still exceeded 10%, even in high-income countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. But thanks to modern medicine and the improvement of public security in general, this number has been virtually reduced to zero in rich countries. In addition, developing economies such as India and Brazil today have much lower infant mortality rates than those in advanced economies with similar income levels a century ago.

3. Fertility rates are falling

Although many worry about the global population explosion, the fact is that fertility rates have dropped significantly around the world. United Nations population According to estimates, the world's population is expected to stabilize at around 11 billion by the end of the century. Moreover, as the graph shows, many developing countries such as Brazil, China and several African countries Low fertility diet. Although this transition has taken many advanced economies for nearly 100 years, beginning with the Industrial Revolution, many others have reached it in just two or three decades.

4. GDP growth accelerated in developed countries

Technology leaders in the United States and Western Europe experienced average growth of about 2% per year, since 150 years. This means that real income levels double every 36 years or so. Despite the many lasting ups and downs, such as the Great Depression or the recent Great Recession, the consistency of the long-term growth rate is actually quite miraculous. Low-income countries, including China and India, have grown significantly faster in recent decades and are rapidly catching up with the West. A growth rate of 10% over a prolonged period means that income levels double approximately every seven years. This is obviously good news if prosperity is more shared around the world.

5. Global income inequality has decreased

The story continues

While inequality within countries Globalization has increased global inequality for several decades. This is mainly due to developing countries such as China and India, where hundreds of millions of people have seen their standard of living improve. In fact, for the first time since the industrial revolution, about half of the world's population can be considered a global middle class.

6. More people live in democracies

In almost the entire history of humanity, people lived under oppressive and undemocratic regimes. To date, about half of the human population lives in a democracy. Of those still living in autocracies, 90% are in China. Although the country has recently moved in the opposite direction, there is good reason to believe that further economic development could eventually lead to democratization (according to theory of modernization).

7. Conflicts are decreasing

Throughout history, the world has been torn apart by conflict. In fact, at least two of the world's greatest powers have waged war more than 50% of the time since about 1500Although the beginning of the 20th century was particularly brutal with two successive world wars, the post-war period was very peaceful. For the first time in history, there has been no war or conflict in Western Europe for about three generations. In addition, international organizations such as the European Union and the United Nations have created a more stable world.This article is republished from The conversation under Creative Commons license. Read it original article.

Julius Probst's thesis is indirectly funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW2014.0138).