“On what principle is it, that when we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?”
—Thomas Babington Macaulay, Review of Southey’s Colloquies on Society, c. 1830
Over the last 200 years, the lives of average people in every country have been radically transformed and improved. In our modern day, we are living longer and are more prosperous than ever before — in both high-income and low-income countries. And while progress forward is by no means progress completed nor a guarantee of progress to come, the remarkable improvements in global living standards serve, not as a high water or finish line, but rather as a source of inspiration and hope.