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The Improving State of the World: Why We're Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet Paperback – January 19, 2007

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"This optimistic view of the impact of economic growth and technological change on human welfare is an antidote to the prophecies of an imminent age of gloom and doom."
-Robert W. Fogel, Nobel Laureate in Economics

"Provocative, illuminating, sharp, and fact filled. Do you think that economic growth is a problem for the environment? Goklany will make you think again. Whether or not you're convinced by his arguments, you'll learn a ton from them."
-Cass R. Sunstein, University of Chicago, author of Laws of Fear

"Goklany does an excellent job of refuting the global pessimists by documenting the dramatic improvements experienced in recent times by humankind, not only in the developed world, but worldwide. Goklany addresses a vast array of issues from the improving state of humanity's life expectancy to his examination of the promise and peril of bioengineered crops. The vast breadth of Goklany's inquiry is impressive, as is his exhaustive documentation."
- Roger A. Sedjo, Resources for the Future

"A remarkable compendium of information at odds with the present fashionable pessimism, Goklany's The Improving State of the World, published by the Cato Institute, reveals that, contrary to popular belief, it is the poorest who are enjoying the most dramatic rise in living standards. Refuting a central premise of the modern green movement, it also demonstrates that as countries become richer, they also become cleaner, healthier and more environmentally conscious. the full review

"In a book to be published next month entitled The Improving State of the World, Indur Goklany, of the Cato Institute, argues that the world's state is, well, improving. He produces figures to demonstrate that chronic undernourishment has gone down in the past 50 years, we are living longer, we are healthier, the basic necessities of life are cheaper, literacy has gone up and so has educational attainment, economic freedom has increased and a larger proportion of mankind than ever enjoys political freedom. the full article

"Goklany's essential message in his book, The Improving State of the World, is that the world over, more people are already, or are fast becoming, more blessed than they've ever been by a considerable margin. article

"What Goklany concludes is that massive progress has been made in so many areas as a result of the positive impact of economic growth, technological progress and more liberal trade. It's clear that never have more people had access to education, health care, food, clean water and an improving environment."
-Michael Campbell, Vancouver Sun

About the Author

Goklany holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Michigan State University and has over 25 years experience working on air quality and environmental issues.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Cato Institute (January 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930865988
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930865983
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,194,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAME on June 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
Indur Goklany has written a very convincing and fact-filled work arguing that Mankind is thanks primarily to technological development on a progressive path towards greater and greater well- being. As the subtitle of the book says he argues that we are living longer , healthier more comfortable lives on a cleaner planet.

In an outstanding review of this book in 'Foreign Affairs'James Suroweicki suggests it is the Industrial Revolution that is at the heart of the economic and social transformation which is the subject of this book.
"In the West, above all, the effects of this transformation have been so massive as to be practically unfathomable. Real income, life expectancy, literacy and education rates, and food consumption have soared, while infant mortality, hours worked, and food prices have plummeted. And although the West has been the biggest beneficiary of these changes, the diffusion of technology, medicine, and agricultural techniques has meant that developing countries have enjoyed dramatic improvements in what the United Nations calls "human development indicators," even if most of their citizens remain poor. One consequence of this is that people at a given income level today are likely to be healthier and to live longer than people at the same income level did 40 or 50 years ago.
But Suroweicki takes objection to the idea that it is unregulated free market which alone can deal with environmental problems and points out that it is only through various government initiatives that the quality of air and water has improved in most Western cities.
This book does a good job of debunking the work of the doomsayer demographers of the Ehrlich, Club of Rome school which were at the heart of public awareness in the nineteen seventies.
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Format: Paperback
The author lays out how life worldwide improves in all respects as opposed to the gloom and doom of the crepehangers. I recommend this book to everyone. Don't wait a minute to start reading this book. It should be required reading in high school and beyond.
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Format: Hardcover
Many believe that globalization and growth are degrading the environment and, ultimately, human desires, but THE IMPROVING STATE OF THE WORLD: WHY WE'RE LIVING LONGER, HEALTHIER, MORE COMFORTABLE LIVES ON A CLEANER PLANET is the first to analyze long-term trends from a range of indicators of environmental health, offering up data drawing important links between economic growth, technological change, and free trade - which have actually helped foster a 'cycle of progress' leading to improvements in the human condition. THE IMPROVING STATE OF THE WORLD is a milestone study highly recommended for college-level holdings strong on social issues and environmental and political affairs: it is especially recommended for college-level classroom debate and is unparalleled in its scope.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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Probably one of the most important, well written, and throughly researched books on the topic of human development and the way we interact with our environment to come out in the past decade. It is a detailed and unapologetic look at what is really going on and where we should properly focus our attention in the future.

It is a brilliant answer to the eco-doom "best-sellers" that have proliferated recently. Highly recommended for those who want to KNOW, not just pontificate and pursue a political agenda.
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