Odd that I would reference Brad deLong (I recently was flattered to join the long list people deLong called an idiot) but Project Syndicate is a great source for analysis and, deLong's contribution shows that, when he is not acting . . . out . . . he can add to a discussion.
If all goes well in China and India in the next generation – and if nothing goes catastrophically wrong in the rich, post-industrial, North Atlantic core of the global economy – the next generation will reach a real milestone. For the first time, more than half of the world will have enough food not to be hungry, enough shelter not to be wet, enough clothing not to be cold, and enough medical care not to be worried that they and most of their children will die prematurely of micro-parasites.
He offers a short answer to the question - How did this happen?