The twentieth century, for example, witnessed both incredible advancement and unspeakable tragedy. The 1918 inﬂuenza epidemic killed fifty million people, World War II killed another sixty million. There were tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, ﬁres, floods, even plagues of locust. Despite such unrest, this period also saw infant mortality decrease by 90 percent, maternal mortality decrease by 99 percent, and, overall, human lifespan increase by more than 100 percent. In the past two decades, the United States has experienced tremendous economic upheaval. Yet today, even the poorest Americans have access to a telephone, television, and a flush toilet—three luxuries that even the wealthiest couldn’t imagine at the turn of the last [19th] century. In fact, as will soon be clear, using almost any metric currently available, quality of life has improved more in the past century than ever before. So while there are likely to be plenty of rude, heartbreaking interruptions along the way, as this book will demonstrate, global living standards will continue to improve regardless of the horrors that dominate the headlines.
Abundance: Why the Future is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler.