: So i suspect our disagreement lies in what degree of poverty the official measures capture and, without going out and doing the necessary research, i doubt we can resolve that one.
Agreed, I think poverty (to be meaningful) has to be set against an absolute standard not a sliding scale. it has to be objectively demonstrable impoverishment and not just being poor or having few opportunities.
: Ah, well now there's a presumption, that we are better off now.
By objective measures such as life expectance, starvation rates, illness raters, infant mortality we are globally better off on average. Personal values about verdant fields are not measurable - the next person might like New York life.
I'm not convinced about 'verdant fields' being part of the past either. grimy dwellings, a hard life, dead animal skins, bones, the need to collect firewood and all that smoke, zero protection against disease save our immune systems etc etc.
: But at any rate, i'm not particualy interested in the living standards of the past, what concerns me is the present and the future.
The past is an important indicator and the example was to show that capitalism as it occured in the west made an abundance possible in turn making the above sufferings for children less and less over time.
: We intefere all the time. That's what governments do.
Governments arent 'us' interfering - they are not our everyday decisions about what we want in our lives, nor do they reflect 'the people' - they simply cannot reflect millions of divergent wishes.
: Besides I'm not advocating full scale revolution or anything like that, i just believe that income disribution is skewed in the wrong places and it is leading to the top 1% getting wealthier while the real incomes of the rest stay the same.
the real incomes (in terms of what you can buy) are getting higher. Compare todays kitchen with the kitchen of the 40s for an 'average household' and observe the technologies and choices available now.
: : Who is representing humanity today?
: You, me, anybody who steps forward
Thats the point. You or I cannot represent humanity - only ourselves