David Henderson reviews Johan Norberg’s Progress. A slice from David’s review:
Even the environment is doing better. The amount of oil spilled in the ocean between 2000 and 2014 was 257,000 tons. This sounds big—it is big—but that was the amount spilled annually in the 1970s. Air pollution is much lower than it used to be in richer countries. Norberg tells of the horrible smog in London in December 1952 that killed as many as 12,000 people. With less burning of coal for heating, that just doesn’t happen in London anymore. The improvement, moreover, is worldwide. Out of 178 countries whose environmental progress is measured in the Environmental Performance Index, 172 improved between 2004 and 2014. A big part of the reason is that environmental quality is what economists call a “normal good.” As real income per person rises, people want a better environment. And they achieve it partly with laws and regulations and partly with their own voluntary changes in behavior.