ISSN 2630-0583 (Print)

ISSN 2630-0656 (Online)

JCST

Journal of Current Science and Technology

http://jcst.rsu.ac.th

Journal of Current Science and Technology. Vol.8 No.2 , July - December 2018.

Looking back and looking forward: Some good news

Jamie Wallin, Ph.D.

Abstract

Soon we will be welcoming a New Year, 2019. In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions, thence also of gates, doors, doorways, endings and time.  He is usually depicted as a two-faced god since he looks to the future and the past.  The Romans dedicated the month of January to Janus.

The writers of several recently published books have provided us with facts that give us some cause for optimism – not pessimism, with respect to the future.   I wish to share some of their findings – a kind of literary New Year’s gift!

The ascent of the developing world.  We live at a time when major players on the world’s stage are mired in political fighting and trade wars.  One only has to look at the daily news emanating from USA: the Office of the President, and the Congress.  Or, the turmoil which has resulted from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.  Other nations, though, are noticing that they are not immune from fallout resulting from those events: the so-called ‘ripple effects’.

These two events, among the many, have eclipsed the fact that never before have so many people, in so many developing countries, made so much progress in reducing poverty, increasing incomes, improving health, and reducing conflict and war.  Steven Radelet, in his 2016 book, The Great Surge: the Ascent of the Developing World, presents facts to support what he labels, the ‘great surge’.

Most people believe the opposite, though: that with a few exceptions like China and India, the majority of developing countries are hopelessly mired in deep poverty, led by self-serving inept rulers, and have little hope for change.

But, Radelet presents evidence that a major transformation is underway—and has been for two decades.  Since the early 1990s more than 700 million people have been lifted out of extreme poverty, six million fewer children die every year from disease, tens of millions more girls are in school, millions more people have access to clean water, and newly elected governments – many by fragile narrow margins - has become the norm in developing countries around the world.

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