Former President Barack Obama knows the world is getting better, and he can prove it with one question.
At the Goalkeepers 2017 conference, held by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation today in New York, Obama gave a keynote address in which he shared a one-question test to demonstrate how humanity is making progress.
“If you had to choose one moment in history in which to be born, and you didn’t know in advance whether you were going to be male or female, which country you were going to be from, what your status was, you’d choose right now,” he said.
He went on to say that world has never been “healthier, or wealthier, or better educated, or in many ways more tolerant, or less violent, than it is today.”
The Gates foundation’s recent “Goalkeepers” report and follow-up conference sought to highlight progress that might not be obvious day to day. Public health data show that greater leaps have been made in the fights against polio, childhood mortality, maternal death, gender inequality, poverty, infectious disease, and raft of other metrics over the last few decades than at any point in human history.
That macro perspective of humanity’s progress is surprisingly sunny, in spite of the natural disasters, political turmoil, and terrorist activity that often captures our attention.
“It’s demonstrable that fewer people are being killed in wars or conflicts than ever before,” Obama said. “This is the time you’d wanna be showing up on this planet.”