Hopefully you good folks can indulge me by forgiving this post. It is an unfinished mess because I wanted it out there as the anchor for a hyperlink from a Reddit thread. At the momebt everything below is a jumble of notes, but I will be reworking it bit by bit starting today. Hopefully this post will be sorted out and typed in full before the end of April 2017.
Historical materialism is the idea that history progresses in stages - slavery, then feudalism, then capitalism, then socialism, then communism - driven by changes in the technologies or techniques of production, and that any human civilisation will exemplify this process.
This makes historical materialism an exercise in both historicism and materialism.
Historicism is the idea that studying the past can reveal history's in-built course or narrative, and so show you the future.
Materialism is the idea that ideas ( and institutions) ultimately* don't matter in determining our destinies, and that therefore only material…
Do read the links in the order in which they appear please. Finding the right comments in the third link might be quite interesting. They are all by a user called BestTrousers and start with "RI" meaning R1.
The main argument used by HealthcareEconomist3 is to give a survey of several works, while BestTrousers goes for comparative advantage.
Thinking about how rates of hunger have shifted over the last 25 years led me to the Global Hunger Index, which covers - wait for it - the last 25 years. What do we see by looking at their figures for hunger in different countries in the years for which data are available?
The Global Hunger Index uses aggregated statistics to arrive at a 'score' for every country studied in a given year with 0 the ideal and 50+ an absolute nightmare of near famine-level proportions.
If you were switched-on enough to follow the link above you probably noticed it includes an interactive world map showing the change in rates of hunger for folks in many countries that might best be described as low-income or middle-income.
An illustration of the score system is just below.
And just in case it wasn't already obvious that everything is getting better, here is the data for all of the individual countries measured on a scatter plot in terms of their reduction in GHI score from 2000 to 2015.