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Progress Undented by Financial Crises

With the US-led crisis just behind us and another unfolding in Europe, one could be forgiven for becoming pessimistic about our prospects. But at the World Economic Forum’s Global Redesign Summit in Doha last week participants were asked to cast their gaze back over the last 60 years and ask, “How are we doing?” The answer: fantastically well. Sixty years ago, after all, Europe and much of Asia were still struggling to emerge from the ashes of the second world war. China has in the past 20 years achieved what the leaders of the Long March never could have imagined. And in just the past decade, Africa has emerged from decades of turmoil, famine and epidemics to become a promising new centre of growth. Incomes are more evenly distributed than ever. Fewer people proportionately live in poverty, hunger or the darkness of illiteracy than ever before. They have more choices than ever before. And now we stand on the threshold of a revolution in health brought about by bioengineering and nanotechnology. Times may be tough, but we have undoubtedly come a long, long way.

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