It's Getting Better all the Time

Feel like there’s just no hope for the world these days? Well, it might be time to change your outlook. While the income per capita around the world has not increased, people are exponentially happier than ever before. And life expectancy has even increased by 10 years, despite economies facing monetary crises.

How is this possible, you ask? As Charles Kenny, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, explains in his new book, “Getting Better: Why Global Development is Succeeding. And How We Can Improve the World Even More,” it’s not all about money — the basic quality of life is actually cheap!

Intrigued? I was. Last week, I went to Kenny’s book launch to find out more. Kenny’s book sheds an extremely underrated light on the positive aspects of global development and how the 21st century is ushering in the best of times in terms of health, education, political freedoms and access to infrastructure and new technologies, benefiting even the poorest in the world.

For instance, thanks to technological advancements, we are able to make vaccines extraordinarily affordable and available to the masses, vastly improving the quality of life for countless communities. Kenny addressed aid skeptics by stating that there are enough cases to confidently say that where there was aid, there was effect -– the greatest example being the eradication of smallpox. Additionally, with education, attitudes can be changed, resulting in bigger movements such as encouraging female education (which helps to increase economic growth while decreasing fertility rates) and simple practices like washing your hands (which helps to control the spread of germs and disease).

Global health has made huge strides, and is perhaps the most exciting advancement that we’ve seen. As Kenny told us, “The story is positive and needs to be told. Many people think that aid doesn’t work, and it’s just not true.”

He went on to comment on the foreign aid budget and had a special message for the Senate: “Reform aid. Don’t cut it. Move aid dollars toward something that works.” Certainly, with tens of millions of fewer parents seeing their children die, aid has made an enormous impact, proving its effectiveness.

We love good news, and Kenny certainly delivers. To learn more about the positive aspects of global development, be sure to check out Kenny’s new book –- it’s a great read.

Also, the Center for Global Development is holding a Twitter contest until March 18. Simply mention @CGDev in a tweet and tell them what in the world is #gettingbetter, and you could win a signed copy of “Getting Better: Why Global Development is succeeding. And How We Can Improve the World Even More.”

Originally posted by Lorraine Chu on ONE Blog.