At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Global population was 1.6 Billion
At the end of that century, it was 6.3 Billion.
A near quadrupling of the population of the world should, you would think, lead to mass poverty and inequality - however, the proportion of the world’s population in extreme poverty declined from about three-quarters in 1820 to one-fifth today. Relatively speaking, over the last thirty years or so, the majority of the world’s poor have begun slowly to catch up with living standards in developed countries for the first time in over two centuries.
In 1870 the highest average life expectancy was in Norway - 49 years
In 1990 the average life expectancy in India was 65 years - only 3 countries on earth had a lower life expectancy rate of 49 years - all were in sub-Saharan Africa in countries torn apart by civil war.
"Cast your mind back a generation and remember how poorly India’s and China’s economic growth prospects were then viewed. It should be no more difficult to spark economic growth in the
next generation for this final group of about one billion people who have
not shared significantly in world economic growth.í [DeLong (2001)]
Real quantifiable change has occurred over the last 150 years - there is no short term fix - no magic formulae that can be applied - reducing inequality will take decades more, but things are moving in the right direction - there is much cause for hope.