Edward Plaut | Wednesday 2 November 2016 | GMT 16:00 | plautemc@outlook.com

As the days draw in and the leaves begin to fall, it is perhaps no surprise we fall to a rather pessimistic outlook around this time of year – especially considering the turbulent political landscape that leaves a lot to be desired from any perspective. It often seems that we, as a human race, are not achieving anything. Politicians from every party can be found complaining about how “the system” has failed them. However, I think it’s time to remember that the free market and the liberties we take for granted have, and still are, improving the lives of billions around the world in a manner that no system before ever has.

Firstly, world poverty has fallen beneath 10% of the global population for the first time in history according to the World Bank. People are living better lives in better conditions in greater numbers than ever before. Far from being something to be attacked, the free market is allowing people across the world to become more prosperous. A good illustration of the success that the free market has brought us in bringing us prosperity is the tale of a man who tried to make a chicken sandwich from scratch in six months without any collaboration, division of labour or trading, the tenets of free market economics, which eventually cost him $1,500. By comparison, one can buy a far better sandwich in any supermarket for a few dollars.

It’s not just in raw dollar terms that life is getting better and more prosperous for the world. The world is less malnourished than it has ever been in recent times in terms of a percentage of total global population – a development that is closely linked to that detailed above. Whereas 953 million were classed as malnourished in 1992, 2015 only saw 685 million being classed as the same, despite an increase of the global population by over a billion during that time. Occupational injuries are decreasing massively year on year (according to International Labour Organisation stats).

82% of the world’s population has now been basically educated as of 2010 compared to 36% a century ago. There were over 1.1bn tourist trips in 2014, compared to 541m (less than half that number) in 1995 – proving that people have more leisure time and more disposable income as they can now afford to take the time and expense of a trip abroad. 45 out of 100 people globally now have access to the internet and thus a wealth of information and news, which offers them more ways than ever before to be connected, learn and entertain themselves. Life expectancy has even increased by 5 years on average since 2000.

There’s never been a better time to be alive. We’ll live longer in a wealthier, more connected world, than any previous generation. So, I urge the reader to look around them. We live in a beautiful world, surrounded by extremely creative people, who are on the whole well-meaning, loving and caring. As a race, we have achieved the dreams of our forefathers through collaboration, capitalism and the liberty to believe, innovate and buy as we want. We are blessed indeed – but let us not forget what has led to these blessings.


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