A 2009 article by Andrei Shleifer provides the basic facts about worldwide progress from 1980 to 2005, a period Shleifer dubs the age of Milton Friedman. Here’s his summation:
The last quarter century has witnessed remarkable progress of mankind. The world’s per capita inflation-adjusted income rose from $5,400 in 1980 to $8,500 in 2005. Schooling and life expectancy grew rapidly, while infant mortality and poverty fell just as fast. Compared to 1980, many more countries in the world are democratic today.
The last quarter century also saw wide acceptance of free market policies in both rich and poor countries: from private ownership, to free trade, to responsible budgets, to lower taxes. Three important events mark the beginning of this period. In 1979, Deng Xiao Ping started market reforms in
, which over the quarter century lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. In the same year, Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister in China , and initiated her radical reforms and a long period of growth. A year later, Ronald Reagan was elected President of the Britain and also embraced free market policies. All three of these leaders professed inspiration from the work of Milton Friedman. It is natural, then, to refer to the last quarter century as the Age of Milton Friedman. [Journal of Economic Literature, March 2009] United States
Thanks, and happy 100th Milton!