Monday, April 06, 2015

Charts to show that the world is getting better

by Dylan Matthews at Vox (via Ramarao Kanneganti) "The press — and humans in general — have a strong negativity bias. Bad economic news gets morecoverage than good news. Negative experiences affect people more, and for longer, than positive ones. So it's natural for things like Russia's incursion into Ukraine or the rise of ISIS or the Ebola outbreak to weigh on us more than, say, the fact that extreme poverty has fallen by half since 1990, or that life expectancy is increasing, especially in poor countries. But it's worth paying some attention to the latter factors. The world is getting much, much better on a whole variety of dimensions. Here are just a few."
My reactions on Ramarao's wall:
"I have wondered about such things. There are long term trends, short term trends etc and it is not clear whether improvements can be sustained without struggle. One can think of air quality in Delhi and who can afford some clean air or soup kitchens..... The wikipedia article on soup kitchen says "With the improved economic conditions that followed WWII, there was less need for soup kitchens in advanced economies.[15] However, with the scaling back of welfare provision in the 1980s under president Reagan's administration, there was a rapid rise in activity from grass roots hunger relief agencies such as soup kitchens. According to a comprehensive government survey completed in 2002, over 90% of food banks, about 80% of emergency kitchens, and all known food rescue organisations, were established in the US after 1981."

"I think we have over capacity for production (US can produce enough food for the world), diminishing rate of profit (Marx and now Sumners). Growth paradigm worked for a few centuries and it is not clear such growth as before is either possible or desirable. In the scramble share the profits, the majority seem to be loosing which means that there is little growth in productive economy (because of lack of buying capacity of the majority) and profits increasingly depends on pushing up asset prizes. It seems to me that the problems are distributional and hence political. Palma estimates that for most countries, the middle fifty percent after the top ten percent take half the income, the rest shared by the top ten percent and bottom forty percent. Many of us are in this middle fifty percent, may be even higher. So, we probably do not really experience the scarcities."

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