2010-2019 – Why it was the greatest decade in human history

Unfortunately it is fashionable to be negative and gloomy, but as we reach the end of the decade of 2010-2019 we should reflect on what has been the GREATEST decade in human history. Yes, really. I mean it. Positive developments often escape our notice due to our propensity to indulge negativity. We should always have faith in the remarkable, relentless advancement and capacity of humankind. Here’s 28 achievements from the last ten years. These are from various sources that you are welcome to double check if you are skeptical. We are honestly living in the best time to be alive. Relish it.

  1. 28% of all the wealth mankind has ever created (measured as GDP per capita), was created in the last ten years.
  2. Extreme poverty more than halved, from 18.2% to 8.6%. The number of poor was reduced by 158,000 – every day.  
  3. Digitisation of music, film and other entertainment allowed for ubiquitous subscriptions, making everything cheaper and reducing the need for wasteful packaging.
  4. The child mortality rate was reduced by a third. As a result, 2.1 million children’s deaths were prevented in 2019.
  5. Life expectancy increased from 69.5 to 72.6 years. So every day in the past decade, the average life span increased almost 8 hours.
  6. Communications technology made it essentially free to connect with loved ones around the world. Skype, FaceTime – thank you.
  7. Proliferation of direct debit bills eliminated the need to worry about paying them via the post office every month. Now it just happens without much thought.
  8. 3D organ printing advances meant researchers successfully printed teeth, hearts, skin, ears and bones.
  9. The share of countries with laws protecting women from violent partners increased from 53% to 78%.
  10. As of 2019, 38 countries are certified as having eliminated malaria, most making significant advances in the last decade.
  11. Air travel continued to become cheaper and available to more people. The last decade has been a golden age for global travel and tourism.
  12. Nearly a fifth of the world’s energy now comes from renewables. This is continuing to grow.
  13. The global death rate from indoor and outdoor pollution declined by 19%.
  14. Despite climate change, deaths from climate-related disasters declined by a third, to 0.35 per 100,000 people. A reduction of 95% since the 1960s. This is mainly due to more resilient disaster management (yes, I’m serious. Please – look it up).
  15. The global literacy rate increased to more than 86 percent.
  16. Antiviral therapy reduced HIV/AIDS deaths more than half.
  17. Despite setbacks and strongman nostalgia, the share of people who live in a “not free” country declined from 34% to 26%. Yay, democracy.
  18. Clothes, office equipment, homewares, furniture, deco are all cheaper and more readily available.
  19. 22 countries legalised same-sex marriage this decade.
  20. In 2018, the World Health Organisation announced that only 33 people in the world had polio – taking the reduction rate to over 99%
  21. Online shopping and dating became normalised, making retail and dating significantly easier.
  22. Paperless offices, transactions, bills, newspapers and books have reduced the world’s need for more paper.
  23. Online banking made access to our money constant and convenient. No need to collect cash from the bank anymore. Add to that the introduction of PayPass = paying for services has never been easier.
  24. Smoking rates have dramatically declined globally.
  25. The global suicide rate reduced. In 2016, the World Health Organisation announced that the global suicide rate had decreased by 9.8%.
  26. More people are tertiary educated than ever before. Women now outnumber men in tertiary education
  27. Google Maps and GPS technology on all smartphones has made ease of navigation simpler for everyone.
  28. Prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates are decreasing or stabilising in most parts of the world.

Sure, things aren’t perfect and there’s many global challenges, but we march on. 2020-2029 will be the next greatest decade in history, and so will the following after that. Just because you don’t like the person in the White House or because you’re bitter about certain election results should not detract from our remarkable good fortune and ingenuity during the past ten years. Whether you are male, female, gay, coloured, transgendered or asian, the last decade has been unequivocally sensational, compared to what was. Rejoice and be grateful.



Sources: Johan Norberg, “Progress: Ten reasons to Look Forward to the Future”. World Bank, Worlds Bank, UN IGME, UN, ILGA, Our World in Data, McAfee, “More From Less”, CATO, WHO, Freedom House, ScienceDaily, The Conversation, The Age.

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