Heh I've read those things several times and they are a mess. I even started to make an article on it and then I thought it may not be worth my time since it is easily 'debunkable'. Just to give you a few examples:
- when they measure poverty they look at how much people make per day, but there are many issues with that and they can never represent it properly https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extreme_poverty#Common_criticism.2Falternatives
- I also looked at the study that said "crime is lower nowadays" and one of the main reason was: better security. Meaning poor people find it harder nowadays to steal cars or broke into homes because of alarms, cctv cameras and such. So the measurement of crime shows what? That the world is getting better or that the security is getting better? Also back in the days you could be arrested for being a black man going for a walk at 2 am, and that counted as crime, today that's not happening that much - so if crime in the past was higher maybe was because of such things that were "silly" and we don't consider them anymore as crimes, but that doesn't imply that "people doing bad stuff" are less of them.
- they don't look into 'perceived poverty'. Meaning if people nowadays have more money but are bombarded by advertising making them feel 'poor' (I don't have new clothes, the news iphone, etc.) then this is important. More money per capita does not mean more happy people.
- they say today there are little chances someone will kill you than in the past. Maybe true, but we should also consider that today, with the internet and spreading of news so quickly, a guy in a truck can run over 20 people in Paris and kill 3, and that event will have a huge emotional impact on people (make them scared) + a huge political impact: think about what the "terrorism" idea made governments do -> from spying on people to feeling like in jail when you travel with an airplane. So less people killed (3 ran over with a truck) have far more impact today than maybe 1,000 killed in the past.
- also even if before we may have had less nuclear weapons than today, how can we measure the impact if today we are more or less likely to use them? If today the political stage is infected with hate and thirst for profit, then having less nuclear weapons is more dangerous than having more nuclear weapons but a more stable political arena.
- also if in the past 3 billion people were starving but we, as a species, only had the technological capability to feed 1 billion more, then how it compares with a present where around 1 billion are starving and we could feed 2 billion more? So today we have more capability to solve a problem like starvation, we throw away 30-50% of all edible food, and still we have around 1 billion starving. I think that's worse. Same applies for homeless people. Maybe in the past there were few homeless people but we also had fewer houses. Nowadays we may have less homeless (though 100 million does not sound so little) but we have way more empty homes.
And one more because I could continue for longer:
- they measure 'education' as "people going to school or be able to read". And they compare with the past where people didn't go to school that much. But what does going to school or able to read means? Hitler and Trump went to school. Didn't do that much good to them or to others affected by them. And poor people being able to read ..... maybe they are better targets for advertisements and scams. So all such measurements are quite poo-poo.
Maybe I'll make that article after all with proper sources and everything. I'll consider it.