The world is healthier, wealthier, and less hungry mainly because of the efforts of millions of unknown investors, entrepreneurs, farmers, workers, bankers, etc., all working without any central coordinating authority. But the spread of those benefits to places such as India and China was the work of political actors, and the entrenchment of free enterprise will require much more from those same political actors on matters such as infrastructure and education. (Maybe you have some High Rothbardian ideas about why political actors should be irrelevant here, and maybe you aren’t wrong. But should be isn’t is, and the world in your theory relates to the actual world in approximately the same way your Dungeons & Dragons campaign relates to Europe in the Middle Ages.) Ideas are powerful and philosophy matters, but all the real problems and real solutions are terribly specific and particular and, being embedded in real conditions rather than theoretical conditions, resistant to purely ideological management. The world is getting better because real people are doing real work to make it better, not because your political preferences or mine are attached to some sort of Hegelianly inevitably capital-H History.

There is much left to do: We have unsustainable fiscal situations in the Western welfare states, irreconcilable Islamist fanatics originating in points east but spread around the world, environmental challenges, and that tenth of the human race that still needs lifting out of hardcore poverty. But we have achieved a remarkable thing in that unless we mess things up really badly, in 50 years we’ll be having to explain to our grandchildren what a famine was, how it came to be that millions of people died every year for want of clean water — and they will look at us incredulously, wondering what it must have been like to live in the caveman times of the early 21st century.