The Great Surge

Finished The Great Surge, The Ascent of the Developing World by Steven Radelet over the weekend.  Here’s one excerpt that I found particularly insightful:

I believe that during the next twenty years, the great surge of development progress can continue.  If it does, 700 million more people will be lifted out of extreme poverty, incomes in developing countries will more than double again, childhood death will continue to decline, hundreds of millions of children will get the educations they deserve, and basic rights and democratic freedoms will spread further around the world.  China’s growth rate will slow gradually rather than abruptly, and it will move–with some disruptions–closer to a more open and democratic society rather than the other way around.  India will continue its uneven ascendancy, and the majority of developing countries will continue to achieve moderate or rapid growth.  New technologies will help fight diseases, increase agricultural production, and expand cleaner sources of energy.  Global governance systems and international organizations will evolve to include developing countries and be more effective in meeting the world’s challenges.  The world will be a safer, healthier, and more prosperous place…

…It’s easy to be pessimistic about the future.  It’s also easy to forget that people have despaired about the future of the planet since the earliest civilizations.  It may be true that some of the challenges the world faces today are greater than those of the past, but so are the world’s capacities to meet these challenges.

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