Read the 2014 Gates letter to get the non-cynical view of progress for the poor. I’m actually on the more hopeful side of this issue, surprisingly. The data (e.g. see Hans Rosling) clearly show that health is improving in developing nations. We may have also reached “peak child” in that there are more children alive today then there will ever be. Extreme poverty is being dramatically reduced. Foreign aid does seem to work. Here’s Bill:
By almost any measure, the world is better than it has ever been. People are living longer, healthier lives. Many nations that were aid recipients are now self-sufficient. You might think that such striking progress would be widely celebrated, but in fact, Melinda and I are struck by how many people think the world is getting worse. The belief that the world can’t solve extreme poverty and disease isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful. That’s why in this year’s letter we take apart some of the myths that slow down the work. The next time you hear these myths, we hope you will do the same.
– Bill Gates