A short-term perspective means we forget how much progress has been made in reducing poverty and mortality rates — and in much else.
A recent survey asked, “All things considered, do you think the world is getting better or worse, or neither getting better nor worse?” In Sweden, 10 percent thought things are getting better, in the US the figure was only 6 percent, and in Germany only 4 percent. Very few people think the world is getting better.
What is the evidence that we need to consider when answering this question? The question is about how the world has changed, and so we must take a historical perspective. And the question is about the world as a whole; thus, the answer must consider everybody. The answer must consider the history of global living conditions — a history of everyone.