And it hasn’t stopped. I Googled “global per capita gdp” and got ~$13k as of 2013. http://www.indexmundi.com/world/gdp_per_capita_(ppp).html, etc.
Before fossil fuels, economic security was the sole provenance of the nominal 1%-ers (most of that was attained via slaveholding–thank fossil fuels for [mostly] ending slavery too). The vast majority of people throughout history up to the industrial revolution lived in honest fear of not surviving another year, facing the very real possibility, at moderate likelihood, of succumbing to exposure or deprivation of food. We went from around $100 per person per year for centuries to now well over $10,000 per person per year, increasing every year. We went from nearly all living in poverty to only one-seventh.
We have a lot of work to do to bring the poverty level to nearly none, and then there will still be some. The only known possibility is more fossil fuels, with eventual replacement by nuclear [fission] power generation.
Embrace fossil fuels, especially for the developing parts of the world, or embrace death, disease, and deprivation.
The choice boils down to killing people today or pretending to save people in ages to come.
People send me stuff.
I got an email today that contained a blog post about another subject unrelated to climate or energy, but it had this graph in it that caught my eye:
The invention of the steam engine (which used coal and wood at first, with oil and natural gas coming later) seems to be the catalyst for change in the human race. Now that’s a hockey stick we can all get behind!
Wikipedia has a similar graph:
Data extracted from Angus Maddison’s “World Population, GDP and Per Capita GDP, 1-2003 AD”
And then there’s this one, going all the way back to 500 B.C.
Source: Victor V. Claar, “The Urgency of Poverty and the Hope of Genuinely Fair Trade,” Journal of Markets & Morality 16, no. 1 (Spring 2013): 274. GDP figures from J. Bradford DeLong, “Estimates of World GDP, One Million B.C.—Present.”
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