The photos Mat linked to reminded me of this graph I found a while ago--probably linked from Cafe Hayek--and just hadn't gotten around to posting it here. I believe MENA = Middle East & North Africa.
1. People were worse off in East Asia than in Africa before 1980.
2. Maybe it's time to buy some stocks in African companies on the chance that economic development starts to take off there. There are a couple of ETFs that track Africa or Africa + the Middle East. Could Africa pull it off or will they languish in poverty for decades to come? I would bet on the former.
3. Don't believe anyone who insists that life on earth is getting worse (at least materially).
4. How many of our crises are crises of affluence? In other words, we only have time to worry about the social issues of the day because we're not subsistence farmers.