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Bill Gates (CEO/Microsoft)I know from personal experience that stepping into the public square to announce that foreign aid is important and effective can be lonely work. Charles Kenny’s elegant book on the impact of aid carefully documents how the quality of life—even in the world’s poorest countries—has improved dramatically over the past several decades. With reams of solid data to support his case, he argues that governments and aid agencies have played an important role in this progress.
As the income gap between developed and developing nations grows, so grows the cacophony of voices claiming that the quest to find a simple recipe for economic growth has failed. Getting Better, in sharp contrast, reports the good news about global progress.
Economist Charles Kenny argues against development naysayers by pointing to the evidence of widespread improvements in health, education, peace, liberty--and even happiness. Kenny shows how the spread of cheap technologies, such as vaccines and bed nets, and ideas, such as political rights, has transformed the world.
He also shows that by understanding this transformation, we can make the world an even better place to live. That's not to say that life is grand for everyone, or that we don't have a long way to go. But improvements have spread far, and, according to Kenny, they can spread even further.