Sunday, March 18, 2012

The General Human Condition

People often bemoan the current state of world or national affairs, without taking into account an historical perspective.

I think that's usually a mistake and the short BBC video cited below, presented from a non-partisan and academic viewpoint, by someone without a particular axe to grind, makes that case convincingly, at least as to two vital metrics over the last 200 years: life expectancy and per capita GDP.

While there are certainly other ways to measure progress (greater political freedoms, less oppression of minorities, expanded educational opportunities and levels of achievement, environmental impact, etc.), those two are very central to a data-driven, evidence-based evaluation of the human condition.

The video is less than five minutes in length and I very much recommend it to each of our readers: