Exploring the incredible worldwide gains in prosperity: Reality Project Episode 1
Every day for 25 years, newspapers could have correctly run the headline “130,000 People Escape Extreme Poverty Yesterday” (source). Instead, as far as I can tell, this has appeared on the front page of a major newspaper precisely 0 times. Maybe this explains the incredibly terrible results recorded by people on this simple question (from Gapminder):
Question 1. of the Gapminder test
When this question was asked in the United States, 5% of humans got the correct answer, C: almost halved. Animals, on the other hand, answer this question with 33% accuracy (because they randomly guess).
How is it possible for people in a supposedly literate society like the US to be so wrong about reality? I don’t like to place blame, but in this case, it’s likely justified: the media has succeeded in a campaign to misinform us about the world. Instead of reporting facts, they have chosen to activate our natural inclination towards xenophobia (fear of outsiders) by convincing us there is a “developed world” with well-off people, and then there is everyone else, a mass of poor hordes that will never be able to rise from poverty.
Fortunately, armed with the right data, we can correct our wrong beliefs about poverty. On doing so, we discoverable a remarkable fact: over the past few decades, people all over the world have undergone a remarkable increase in prosperity, resulting in measurably better living standards for billions of people.