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If a Boeing 747 filled with people crashed into the ocean, killing everyone on board, would that make the news? What if the plane was entirely filled with children? Then it’s a huge story - particularly because no airline should employ child pilots. What if a plane carrying 620 children crashed - not into the ocean - but instead into a Chuck E Cheese, killing another 620 children - and also catching Chuck E Cheese himself on fire.
Then Chuck ran blindly through the parking lot and into the freeway, causing a massive accident, killing another 620 children. All the adults survived for some reason. Then, one of the cars, swerved into a gas station, hitting a massive propane tank, shooting it into the air like a rocket. As it crashed to the earth, it completely annihilated a sold out concert of Yo Gabba Gabba Live, tragically killing another 15,000 children. What a crappy day.
Total death count: 17,258. Would that make the news?
Unless it happened the same day Kim Kardashian posted another naked picture of her ass, of course it would.
But, what if we found out that this plane crash, Chuck E. Cheese car accident, and propane explosion incident, had instead been averted. What if someone stepped in to stop it?
Would that make the news? Say it with me— NO.
All of those innocent children, alive because they avoided that impossible series of disasters, wouldn’t even get a mention on the local news. No one would tell you about it. Let me explain.
In 1990, about 9% of kids in the world didn’t even make it to 5 years old. Their deaths were far less hilarious – slapstick - accident and far more soul-destroying tragedy. But, despite all the bad news, we hear every day - the scary new diseases, the terrorist attacks, the economic turmoil, the rumors of war— that number has fallen. By 1999, it was under 8%. By 2003, it was under 7%. 4 years later, it was under 6%. 4 years after that, it was under 5%. And by 2015, it had fallen to 4.25%. That’s a drop in the rate of more than half (about 53%) since 1990. But, no one gets excited by percentages. I know this because most people don’t enjoy talking to me. So let’s put it another way.
In 1990, 12 million kids died. 12 freaking million. But by 2015 that number had dropped, by over 6 million. If you have any sign of a heart at all, you know that 5.8 million children still dying is an unthinkable tragedy. It’s actually 5.8 million unthinkable tragedies. But, the progress is undeniable.
If you break it down, every single day, that’s 17,258 children that would have been dead, but instead are alive. That’s the equivalent of averting a plane full of kids, crashing into a Chuck E. Cheese, causing a massive chain reaction highway pileup, propane rocket, Yo Gabba Gabba explosion -17,258 kids saved every single day.
Yet, that incredible miracle has occurred in your lifetime, and maybe your children’s lifetime - and nobody has noticed. In fact, it’s worse than that - about 70% of people believe poverty around the world has become worse. Why? Look at what is responsible for the improvements:
Freer markets, creating wealth in corners of the planet that never before had a chance. Big pharma - developing medicines and treatments on the backs of wealthy Americans that are now affordable across the globe. Big agriculture - coming up with incredible ways to feed people that previously died of starvation.
All of these and more— are features of the biggest villain of all— good old capitalism. When capitalism is the hero, 17,258 children per day being saved, isn’t much of a story.
So to review: -The amount of children dying before age 5 has dropped by 53% since 1990. -Over 17,000 kids that used to die every day, now live, largely because of capitalism spreading throughout the world. -And as Arthur Brooks pointed out: “It’s the greatest antipoverty achievement in the history of mankind. And it happened within our lifetimes.”
Take a minute to celebrate this…preferably with your living, breathing child at Chuck E. Cheese. Or borrow someone else’s. You can’t get into Chuck E. Cheese if you don’t have a kid.
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