The four horsemen of the apocalypse are on the retreat. A century of development has seen considerable tragedy—world war, genocide, mass starvation—but, globally, rates of absolute income poverty have fallen dramatically even as populations have grown. Every region has escaped the Malthusian trap. And in every region more children are being educated, people are living longer, and liberties have expanded. Even the concept of stagnation can only fairly be applied if we limit ourselves pretty much to one indicator (GDP per capita) and one region (Africa). From a long-term perspective, the idea of crisis ill fits the evidence of how the world is getting better.
Not least, the last century saw an unprecedented ...