Inner & Outer Space tends to concentrate on human foibles and things we need to learn to do better. But at Christmas time, we need some good news. Of course there's the best news of all, the good news of forgiveness and new life that was the original source of Christmas, but is there anything else?
I came across some interesting figures in the Sydney Morning Herald today. Paul Sheehan, at the end of an article mostly about other things looks at statistics on global poverty. And using either of two standard measures, the situation is at least improving, and rapidly.
- If poverty is measured by those whose income is no more than $US1 per day, then the percentage of people worldwide living in poverty declined from 15.4% in 1970 to 5.7% in 2000. When the rising world population is factored in, the numerical decline was 43%, from 540 million to 310 million.
- If an alternative measure of poverty is used, of $US3 per day, the decline was from 47% to 21%, with about 400 million people rescued from poverty in 30 years.
Either way, we can feel very pleased.
However much more needs to be done. The great majority of those released from poverty live in east Asia, but Africa remains a real problem. And we can all do something - maybe sponsor a child in Africa?
Here are a few suitable organisations:
Merry Christmas and best wishes to all who read this.
P.S. It may be 20:13 on December 23 in Blogger time, but in Australia it's just after 3:00 pm on Christmas Eve.