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The Improving State of the World: Why We're Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Clean Planet Hardcover – Feb 12 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Cato Institute (Feb. 12 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930865996
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930865990
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.9 x 23.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 816 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #786,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Right, but... June 21 2007
By Shalom Freedman - Published on
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.
To do this it amasses a tremendous amount of evidence as to the generally improved quality of life in most geographical regions. It does note the exceptions in sub- Saharan Africa and Russia.
Yet it does not give sufficient attention to such possibly catastrophic processes as nuclear proliferation. Nor does he consider the full effect of radical fundamentalist Islam both on the standards, level of economic development in Islamic societies- but on their general capacity for bringing through war disruption and even disaster to the world.
Nor does he consider the damage wrought by new technology on the family, and the overall mental health - profile of mankind. The great growth in mental illness, primarily Depression certainly is related to disruptive effects of new technology.
Thus while presenting a very convincing case that technological progress has given us longer, more prosperous lives Goklany does not reckon fully the negative consequences which have also come with this.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Getting better every year Sept. 14 2009
By David W. Carnell - Published on
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.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Especially recommended for college-level classroom debate April 19 2007
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
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
16 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Antidote to Disaster May 13 2007
By Ronald A. Trussell - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
Five Stars Nov. 10 2015
By Robert Shapiro - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Scholarly Book but mostly easy to read. A lot of good material. Delivery & book condition were excellent.