WORLD - Best Decade in Human History

Arno Froese

Let nobody tell you that the second decade of the 21st century has been a bad time. We are living through the greatest improvement in human living standards in history. Extreme poverty has fallen below 10 percent of the world’s population for the first time. Global inequality has been plunging as Africa and Asia experience faster economic growth than Europe and North America; child mortality has fallen to record low levels; famine virtually went extinct; malaria, polio and heart disease are all in decline.

As for Britain, our consumption of ‘stuff’ probably peaked around the turn of the century—an achievement that has gone almost entirely unnoticed. But the evidence is there. In 2011 Chris Goodall, an investor in electric vehicles, published research showing that the UK was now using not just relatively less ‘stuff’ every year, but absolutely less. Events have since vindicated his thesis. The quantity of all resources consumed per person in Britain (domestic extraction of biomass, metals, minerals and fossil fuels, plus imports minus exports) fell by a third between 2000 and 2017, from 12.5 tons to 8.5 tons. That’s a faster decline than the increase in the number of people, so it means fewer resources consumed overall.

Efficiencies in agriculture mean the world is now approaching ‘peak farmland’—despite the growing number of people and their demand for more and better food, the productivity of agriculture is rising so fast that human needs can be supplied by a shrinking amount of land. In 2012, Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University and his colleagues argued that, thanks to modern technology, we use 65 percent less land to produce a given quantity of food compared with 50 years ago.

Perhaps the most surprising statistic is that Britain is using steadily less energy. John Constable of the Global Warming Policy Forum points out that although the UK’s economy has almost trebled in size since 1970, and our population is up by 20 percent, total primary inland energy consumption has actually fallen by almost 10 percent. Much of that decline has happened in recent years.

As we enter the third decade of this century, I’ll make a prediction: by the end of it, we will see less poverty, less child mortality, less land devoted to agriculture in the world. There will be more tigers, whales, forests and nature reserves. Britons will be richer, and each of us will use fewer resources. The global political future may be uncertain, but the environmental and technological trends are pretty clear—and pointing in the right direction., 21 December 2019

Arno's commentary

There are a number of well-respected ministries and individual Bible scholars who continue to view the present world from an Armageddon syndrome. In other words, the world is coming to an end, there is chaos everywhere, signs are multiplying; but are they, really? The excerpt from the article by Matt Ridley, published in the UK magazine, The Spectator, presents simple facts that clearly show the other side of the story. Indeed, “good news is no news.” If one were to compare the world half a century ago with today’s, the facts would clearly demonstrate the almost mind-boggling improvements that have been made. While this article concerns itself with the UK, this applies to most of the world as well. The progress that is being made is staggering.

What’s the reason? There are many, but one is fulfillment of Bible prophecy. When the disciples ask Jesus about the end times, He answers: “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded” (Luke 17:28). Normal, day-to-day activity: eating, drinking, buying, selling, planning, building. We can summarize it with one word: progress. But during the greatest progress of all time, sudden catastrophe will befall planet earth as recorded in the book of Revelation.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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