by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It’s human nature to focus on the negative, so it’s worth starting 2020 with an earnest appreciation of all the gains we made during the last decade. Despite the doom-and-gloom rhetoric of economic disaster pushed by politicians left and right, honest reflection reveals that the 2010s were arguably the single most magnificent decade of economic progress in human history.
The statistics showing growth over the last 10 years are almost mind-blowing.
Extreme poverty, defined as the number of people globally living on less than $1.90 a day, fell from a whopping 18.2% of the world in 2008 to just 8.6% in 2018. This means that over the last decade or so, the number of people in extreme poverty has more than halved. …
… But it’s not enough to just be grateful for the tremendous progress of the last decade. As we head into the new year, we need to remember what drove such record economic advancement: capitalism, free markets, and free trade — not socialism, protectionism, or big government. …
… This isn’t to say serious problems don’t exist — of course they do. From healthcare to inequality to climate change to lingering poverty and violence, there’s no doubting the seriousness of the challenges that face us. But focusing on the negative only is counterproductive. And ignoring progress leads us to cast aside the effective systems that brought it. This is the biggest reason we must remember how far we’ve come — socialists and populists alike are currently touting policies that would undermine the progress we’ve made.