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Is the World Really Getting Better?

The answer is a resounding yes. Poverty has decreased more in the past 50 years than in the previous 500. At a global level, the gap between wealthy nations and poorer nations continues to close. Across the boards, we are living longer, wealthier, healthier lives. Certainly, there are still hundreds of millions of people living in dire, back-breaking poverty, but using almost every quality-of-life metric available: access to goods and services, access to transportation, access to information, access to education, access to life-saving medicines and procedures, means of communication, value of human rights, importance of democratic institutions, durable shelter, available calories, available employment, affordable energy, even affordable beer—our day-to-day experience has improved massively over the past two centuries.

Progress is also accelerating. We’re poised to make greater gains in the next two decades than we have in the previous 200 years. Because of new, transformational technologies and three powerful forces (discussed in greater detail below) we will soon have the ability to meet and exceed the basic needs for every man, woman and child on the planet. Abundance for all is actually within our grasp.

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