Richard Murphy has posted a rather gloomy blog entry, outlining many of the things going wrong in Europe and America. He points, among other things, to Brexit, populism, growing inequality and economic and political instability. 2019, he thinks, ‘is going to be horrid’. While I can’t gainsay any of the grim predictions he offers, I think there are other grounds for optimism, mainly from the developing world.
- There have been marked improvements in the incomes of poor populations in many of the world’s poorest countries – among them China, Bangladesh, South East Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. See the World Bank’s Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals.
- Around the world, infant mortality is falling. So is family size – one follows from the other.
- Maternal mortality is falling.
- Girls are much more likely to be engaged in primary education.
- Social protection is being extended. See The state of social protection 2018. There is a still a long way to go, with less than 30% of the world’s population experiencing comprehensive social security provision, but safety nets have been spreading across the global South.
2019 might well be horrid, but it may not be quite as horrid for everyone as it threatens to be in the UK. Happy New Year.