The Improving State Of The World

“Many people believe that globalization and its key components have made matters worse for humanity and the environment. Indur M. Goklany exposes this as a complete myth and challenges people to consider how much worse the world would be without them.

Goklany confronts foes of globalization and demonstrates that economic growth, technological change and free trade helped to power a “cycle of progress” that in the last two centuries enabled unprecedented improvements in every objective measurement of human well‐​being. His analysis is accompanied by an extensive range of charts, historical data, and statistics.

The Improving State of the World represents an important contribution to the environment versus development debate and collects in one volume for the first time the long‐​term trends in a broad array of the most significant indicators of human and environmental well‐​being, and their dependence on economic development and technological change.

While noting that the record is more complicated on the environmental front, the author shows how innovation, increased affluence and key institutions have combined to address environmental degradation. The author notes that the early stages of development can indeed cause environmental problems, but additional development creates greater wealth allowing societies to create and afford cleaner technologies. Development becomes the solution rather than the problem.

He maintains that restricting globalization would therefore hamper further progress in improving human and environmental well‐​being, and surmounting future environmental or natural resource limits to growth.

Key points from the book

  • The rates at which hunger and malnutrition have been decreasing in India since 1950 and in China since 1961 are striking. By 2002 China’s food supply had gone up 80%, and India’s increased by 50%. Overall, these types of increases in the food supply have reduced chronic undernourishment in developing countries from 37% in 1970 to 17% in 2001, despite an overall 83% growth in their populations.
  • Economic freedom has increased in 102 of the 113 countries for which data is available for both 1990 and 2000.
  • Disability in the older population of such developed countries as the U.S., Canada, France, are in decline. In the U.S. for example, the disability rate dropped 1.3 % each year between 1982 and 1994 for persons aged 65 and over.
  • Between 1970 and the early 2000s, the global illiteracy rated dropped from 46 to 18 percent.
  • Much of the improvements in the United States for the air and water quality indicators preceded the enactment of stringent national environmental laws as the Clean Air Act of 1970, Clean Water Act of 1972, and the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974.
  • Between 1897–1902 and 2001–2003, the U.S. retail prices of flour, bacon and potatoes relative to per capita income, dropped by 92, 85, and 82 percent respectively. And, the real global price of food commodities has declined 75% since 1950.

View Charts from the Book

  1. Infant Mortality Rates
  2. Life Expectancy
  3. Global Poverty
  4. Overall Improvement in Human Well‐​Being
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Junk Science Judo: Self‐​Defense Against Health Scares and Scams

Cell phones and diet soda cause brain cancer. Whole‐​grain cereals prevent cancer. Anti‐​bacterial products are creating supergerms. Alcohol reduces the risk of heart disease. These are just a few of the many bogus health scares and scams that bombard us every day.

Health scares and scams can harm the health of you and your loved ones, cost you dearly, and rob you of your peace of mind. But what can you do about it? If you’re not a scientist, how can you prevent yourself from becoming a victim?

Junk Science Judo is the answer.

In 12 easy‐​to‐​understand lessons, author Steven J. Milloy walks you through the modern phenomenon of “junk science,” the source of many health scares and scams.

Junk science is the manipulation of statistics to promote special policy agendas that have nothing to do with public health and safety. It can be disseminated by special interest groups, social and political activists, businesses seeking to hurt rival companies, and politicians. Unfortunately, many gullible journalists pass on the bad information, alarming the public and causing much harm.

Milloy teaches you how to debunk junk science­fueled health scares by using basic scientific principles that don’t require any specialized training or education. Junk Science Judo will teach you how to tell the difference between health scams and genuine risks. After reading this book, you’ll never look at the nightly news the same way again.

Visit the special Junk Science Judo web site, which contains more information about the book and more articles by Steven Milloy.

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Silencing Science

Science has been a major contributor to the health and wealth we enjoy today, but not everyone is happy about it. Science can get in the way of social and environmental activists, politicians, lawyers, and government regulators who have a political agenda they wish to impose. This book is a tongue‐​in‐​cheek “how‐​to” manual for concerned citizens who are annoyed by “pesky” science.

The authors describe more than 20 efforts of individuals and organizations to stop science in its tracks using techniques ranging from defunding scientific research to quashing scientific debate. Their witty descriptions illuminate the mischief that has followed successful and all‐​too‐​real efforts to substitute “junk” science for the real thing.

Topics discussed include fetal tissue research, global warming, CFCs, cloning, silicone breast implants, and the EPA, among others. It’s an amusing look at a pervasive problem.

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Hoodwinking the Nation

Most people in the United States believe that our environment is getting dirtier, we are running out of natural resources, and population growth in the world is a burden and a threat. These beliefs, according to Simon, are entirely wrong. Why do the media report so much false bad news about the environment, resources, and population? And why do we believe it? Those are the questions distinguished scholar Julian L. Simon set out to answer in his book, Hoodwinking the Nation.

The opening chapter of this, the last book by Simon, discusses facts about population growth, natural resources, and the environment, and presents survey evidence of the public’s view of these topics. The discrepancy between the facts and the public beliefs sets up the puzzle that the remaining chapters attempt to explain. Simon explores how and why false bad news is produced, citing government reports as often being the barns for environmental news scares and doomsday analysis.

Simon examines the intellectual bases of concepts that lead to scares about resource depletion and population growth, and why biologists, in particular, tend to become overly alarmed about mythical environmental scares. Simon follows with an explanation of how the false bad news is disseminated. He notes that journalists know little about statistics and science and thus gather data in ways that lead to inaccurate conclusions, and politicians may misuse statistics in the service of their own policy and political goals. Simon contends that psychological and cultural mechanisms make people receptive to bad rather than good news and that most people have a too positive view of the past and a too negative view of the future.

The purpose of this book is not to preach but to examine. Most importantly, it aims to consider whether institutional structures can be changed in a way that would allow more sanctions against undesirable practices and unethical behavior. This volume will be valuable to political economists and sociologists, and the general reader concerned with environmental issues and their social impacts.

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The Ultimate Resource 2

Arguing that the ultimate resource is the human imagination coupled to the human spirit, Julian Simon has led a vigorous challenge to conventional beliefs about scarcity of energy and natural resources, pollution of the environment, the effects of immigration, and the “perils of overpopulation.” The comprehensive data, careful quantitative research, and economic logic contained in the first edition of The Ultimate Resource rebutted widely held professional judgments about the threat of overpopulation.

Later, Simon’s celebrated winning bet with Paul Ehrlich about resource prices in the 1980s enhanced the public attention — both pro and con — that greeted this controversial book.

Now Princeton University Press presents a revised and expanded edition of The Ultimate Resource. The new volume is thoroughly updated end provides a concise theory for the observed counter‐​Malthusian outcome: Population growth and increased income put pressure on supplies of resources. This increases prices, which provides opportunity and incentive for innovation. Eventually the innovative responses are so successful that prices end up below what they were before the shortages occurred.

The book also tackles timely issues such as the supposed rate of species extinction and the wastefulness of coercive recycling.

In Simon’s view, the key factor in natural and world economic growth is our capacity for the creation of new ideas and contributions to knowledge. The more people alive who can be trained to help solve the problems that confront us, the faster we can remove obstacles, and the greater the economic inheritance we shall bequeath to our descendants. In conjunction with the size of the educated population, the key constraint on human progress is the nature of the economic‐​political system: Talented people need economic freedom and security to bring their talents to fruition.

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