The Spectator provides something to lift the mood after the holidays with an editorial looking on the bright side of 2011.
Every day of this new year, some 200,000 people are likely to be lifted out of what the United Nations defines as extreme poverty: living on $1.25 a day or less. The United Nations estimates that 925 million souls are still in this category, but also that the tally fell by 98 million last year. Most of the improvement is in India and China. The invisible hand of the market does not wear a wristband saying ‘Make Poverty History’. But that is its effect.
The article list of lot of other reasons to be cheerful, and while In Europe we are dealing with recessions and spending cuts, it’s worth remembering that the fruits of our technological progress over the last twenty years didn’t just produce iPhones and 3D TVs!
Britain is becoming cleaner, as can be seen in the air quality figures. The level of unpleasant chemicals in the atmosphere has fallen by a quarter over a decade, according to government measurements. Carbon, of course, is not pollution — but even if it was, the average person in Britain emits 20 per cent less of it than five decades ago, according to the World Bank. We jet around more, use dishwashers with abandon and build houses with twin garages, but the technology we employ is cleaner and greener. It uses less fuel because consumers like low running costs.