Johan Norberg’s new book, Progress, is reviewed in the Wall Street Journal. A slice from the review:
Set against such misery [of the pre-industrial ages] are the advances of the modern era. At the start of the 20th century, average life expectancy globally was just 31 years. Today it is 71. Every country in the world has seen improvements in infant and child mortality since 1950. The so-called Green Revolution has increased food supply and reduced famine in parts of the world where malnutrition and starvation had long seemed inevitable. Throughout the world, there’s less violence, more literacy and greater political freedom.
Political correctness on the left has called forth an equally anti-libertarian reaction on the right. The far-right movements that are gaining ground in Europe and the “alt-right” fusion of populism and white nationalism in the United States have attracted followers who are convinced that their existence or way of life is threatened by capitalism, by free trade, and by ethnic pluralism, but they have been infuriated and stirred into action by the illiberal left-wing domination of speech and witch hunts against dissidents. In a sense they have become the mirror image of their persecutors. In European parties they have resurrected the poisonous political ideologies and language of the 1930s, and in the United States they have been energized by and attached themselves to the Trump movement, with its attacks on international trade, its denigration of Mexicans and Muslims, and its stirring up of resentment against elites.
The Niskanen Center’s Karl Smith warns of the dangerous economic nationalism of one of Donald Trump’s closet advisors (although I disagree with Mr. Smith that globalization hasn’t been a boon for the less-educated workers in the west).