The 2010s – Ten reasons it was the best decade ever

Both in Sweden and the US there has been some turmoil the last decade and some people are asking themselves, “Where is the world going?”. We found a list by Johan Norberg, a Swedish author and historian of ideas, devoted to promoting economic globalization that might make you say, “I love where this world is headed!”.

1) 28% of all the wealth mankind has ever created (measured as GDP per capita), was created in these ten years.

2) Extreme poverty more than halved, from 18.2% to 8.6%. The number of poor was reduced by 158,000 – every day.  

3) The child mortality rate was reduced by a third. As a result, 2.1 million children’s deaths were prevented this year.

4) Life expectancy increased from 69.5 to 72.6 years. So every day in the past decade, the average life span increased almost 8 hours.

5) The share of countries with laws protecting women from violent partners increased from 53% to 78%.

7) The global death rate from indoor and outdoor pollution declined by 19%.

8) Despite global warming, deaths from climate-related disasters declined by a third, to 0.35 per 100,000 people. A reduction of 95% since the 1960s.

9) Many rich countries have reached “peak stuff”. The consumption of 66 out of 72 resources tracked by the US Geological Survey is declining.

10) Despite setbacks and strongman nostalgia, the share who live in a “not free” country declined from 34% to 26%, (down from 42.5% in 1980).



Sources: Overall: Johan Norberg, “Progress: Ten reasons to Look Forward to the Future”. 1) World Bank, 2) Worlds Bank, 3) UN IGME, 4) UN, 5)ILGA, 6) World Bank, 7) Our World in Data, 8) Our world in Data, 9) McAfee, “More From Less” 2019, 10)Freedom House. Data collecting takes time so some numbers refer to 2007-2017, 2008-2018 or 2009-2019.

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