According to the World Bank’s scorecard, the proportion of households in developing countries below the extreme-poverty line (now measured as $1.25 per person per day at international prices) has declined sharply, from 52 percent in 1980, to 43 percent in 1990, 34 percent in 1999, and 21 percent in 2010. Even sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the most recalcitrant poverty, is finally experiencing a notable decline, from 58 percent in 1999 to 49 percent in 2010.
It was a bit like being caught in a mostly benign avalanche. You are totally daunted, of course, when you think of previous writers who received the prize. And daunted when you think of the ones who didn’t receive it. Just confining yourself to Ireland you have Yeats, Shaw and Beckett in the first group and James Joyce in the second. So you soon realize you’d better not think too much about it at all. Nothing can prepare you for it. Zeus thunders and the world blinks twice and you get to your feet again and try to keep going.