About 10 percent of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty. But what may surprise you is that, until somewhat recently, poverty was near universal. Almost everyone in the world was extremely impoverished, except for a lucky few.
So what happened? Starting around 1820, population and economic growth accelerated dramatically. This expansion happened all over the world. But some places expanded faster than others, due to factors including colonialism.
As a result, some places (think the EU and the UK) thrived where others (like India and Africa) have struggled. Economics professor Jeffrey D. Sachs says that lifting all people out of extreme poverty is for the common good: bettering people’s lives while making the world a safer place.