PERC has published the first in a special series of papers honoring the late Julian Simon. This paper, “Economic Growth and the State of Humanity,” by Indur M. Goklany, emulates and builds upon the contributions that Julian Simon made in reporting on the progress of humankind.
Indur M. Goklany served as PERC’s D & D Foundation Julian Simon Fellow in 2000. His new paper gathers together a broad range of data going back in some cases to the Middle Ages and covering many countries of the world. Its message is that the state of humanity has improved dramatically since the start of the industrial revolution. By virtually every measure, from life expectancy to access to safe water, from levels of education to time spent on the job, from freedom from hunger and debilitating disease to freedom itself, both economic and political, humanity is better off than it was in the past.
Goklany illustrates these findings with a collection of graphs, figures, and data that will prove valuable to scholars studying long-term trends in measures of health and welfare. Goklany also discusses the role of technology and trade in bringing about these measurable improvements in human well-being.
This publication (PS-21) is part of the PERC Policy Series of papers that offer policy recommendations on environmental subjects. Jane S. Shaw edits the series and Dianna Rienhart is production manager. Additional copies are available from PERC.
Download the full report, including endnotes and references.