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2000 to 2010 is 11 years, not a decade. Contrary to popular belief, the 21st century begins with 2001.


One point: the chart emphasizes not only population growth but also the dramatic extension of life expectancies across much of the world. Its unit of measurement is "years lived" not "persons lived."

The gap between years lived and economic output does imply a tremendous increase in (average) living standards since the 20th century. I don't know how they measure economic output, however - considering that most human production never got anywhere near a market during wide swaths of the periods in question, part of this effect may be simply moving from subsistence to market economy. So you could take a Yoruban subsistence farmer's family from 1975 and move it to a Lagos slum in 1995 and count "increased" economic production.


Glad to see my nomination was successful! It seems even Gary above missed that years lived is a product of life expectancy and population and his conclusion about the extension of life expectancy is not supported by the chart. This is another reason the chart is so horrible; people think "there must be some content here, what is it" and they stumble on an erroneous conclusion as Gary did (the likely true but not displayed idea that the rate of growth of life expectancy over time is outpaced by the rate of growth in output) or perhaps that the 21st century will experience massive declines in something. If one notices the footnote and projects the last bars up to adjust at some personally determined growth function, they have to simultaneously adjust the other bars down so it all sums to 100%; I like your choice of word for this: unconscionable.

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