Andrew Sprung looks forward optimistically. Some tonic against too much gloom:

Poverty: "Whereas real per capita income [worldwide] increased by about one fifth per decade in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, it is expect to increase by about one third in the 2000s...The poverty rate is expected to continue to fall sharply from 57.2 percent in 200 to 49.7 percent in 2010 at a poverty line of one-half of the mean." (Lynge Nielsen, IMF Working Paper, Global Relative Poverty, April 2009 '

Health: Global life expectancy at birth was 64 in 1990, 66 in 2000, and 68 in 2007. Under-5 mortality rates per 1000 live births were 91 in 1990, 78 in 2000, and 67 in 2007.

From 1990 - 2006, the number of people in developing regions using improved sanitation facilities has increased by 1.1 billion; the proportion of the global population with access to improved drinking water sources rose from 76% to 86% in the same period. (World Health Statistics 2009.) War: Here is the latest tabulation of global battle deaths year by year calculated by the International Peace Research Institute. While these tabulations have been challenged in recent years, they have also been strongly defended (summary here).

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