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The improving state of the world; why we're living longer, healthier, more comfortable lives on a cleaner planet.


The improving state of the world; why we're living longer, healthier, more comfortable lives on a cleaner planet.

Goklany, Indur M.

Cato Institute


516 pages




Goklany (formerly of the Environmental Protection Agency) presents a counterargument to "pessimists" who contend that current trends of economic growth and technological change are creating greater levels of inequality and wreaking lasting environmental damage. He bases his argument on the selection of long-term data that often differs from those typically presented, arguing that they are better indicators of human well-being. For example, trends in deaths to water-related disease is considered a more relevant indicator of water pollution than measurements of chemical concentrations in water and trends in infant mortality, food supplies, education, child labor, and life expectancy are presented as more important that simple measurements of wealth. In the end, he concludes that the "state of humanity has never been better," suggesting that continuing gaps in well-being between rich and poor countries existing simply because the latter arrived late to the party and that technology transfer will serve to improve the lives of their populations. Future technological advance and economic growth (the "cycle of progress") is also likely to help mitigate against predicted environmental harms, he argues.

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Publication:Reference & Research Book News
Article Type:Book review
Date:May 1, 2007
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