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  • Peter Francis Fenwick

Book Review: Ten Global Trends


Do you worry about everything?


Are you concerned about the environment – the loss of habitat, the loss of species, and the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef corals?


Are you concerned about violence – murders, rapes, domestic violence, terrorism and war?


Are you concerned about diminishing resources - will population growth, inadequate food supply and the depletion of the minerals we rely upon be catastrophic?


Are you concerned about natural disasters - floods, droughts, and wildfires?



Are you concerned that everyone is doing it tough - not only in the third world but also in your own country?


You are not alone. Most people share your concerns.



Stephen Pinker suggests your worries are due to the daily news!


“There are two ways to understand the world: a constant drip of anecdotes about the worst things that have happened anywhere on the planet in the previous hour, or a bird’s-eye view of the grand developments that are transforming the human condition. The first is called ‘the news’, and for your wisdom and mental health I recommend balancing it with the second.


Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know is a pleasure: gorgeous, self-contained vignettes on human progress, which you can sample at your leisure or devour in a sitting.”


If you would like to stop being worried all the time, you will need to know what is actually happening. Bailey and Tupy's book provides that information.


Here is a sample:

  • Prosperity:

World-wide GDP per capita rose from $2,021 in 1900 to $14,574 in 2016.

  • Poverty:

The proportion of the world's population in absolute poverty declined from

66% in 1910 to 8.6% in 2018.

  • Literacy

In 1820, nearly 90% of people were illiterate. Today 90% can read.

  • Fertility:

Births per woman plummeted from 5.0 in 1960 to 2.4 today.

  • Health:

Infant mortality has declined from 140 deaths per thousand live births

in 1950 to 30 deaths per thousand in 2017.

Ninety percent of the global population now has access to electricity and

clean drinking water. More and more people have access to proper sanitation.

Smallpox has been eliminated and vaccines for polio, diphtheria,

measles and hepatitis are saving millions of lives every year.

  • Life expectancy:

In 1820 life expectancy was less than 30 years. Today it is 72 years.

  • Sustenance:

Cereal production increased from 735 million tons

in 1961 to 2980 million tons in 2017.

Global cereal yields have increased from 1.4 tons per hectare

in 1961 to more than 4.0 tons per hectare in 2017.

  • Environment:

Between 1982 and 2016, the world's forest canopy

increased by a net 2.24 million square kilometres.

  • Natural disasters:

The chances of dying from earthquake, flood, drought, storm,

wildfire, landslide or epidemic has declined 99% since the 1930s.


And there are lots more. The title understates the content: there are 78 trends observed.

In The Fortunate I wrote about the ideas which have created the free and affluent society we all enjoy. In Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know, Bailey and Tupy provide the evidence to show just how good life is. And how it is getting better all the time.


This beautifully presented book will provide you with easily understandable and entertaining access to surprising facts that tell you how the world is really faring.


If you wish to begin the New Year on a positive note, I can think of nothing better than to leave it on your coffee table for you and your friends to dip into at your leisure.

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