08 November 2010 | There's a good news story which hasn't made the headlines: compared to 20 years ago, the world is a better place. Life expectancy is up, GDP has doubled and more children are going to school. And if you're looking for a domestic angle to these stats, here it is: Australia ranks among the top nations in terms of income, health and education. In fact, Norwegians are the only people on the planet with a higher quality of life. Yet the UN's latest 'Human Development Index' also contains a disturbing fact: an estimated 1.75 billion people remain in poverty and the poorer the country, the greater the level of inequality within it. In 1990, the first UN Human Development Report marked a major shift in the way we measure well-being by going beyond dollar incomes to look at achievements in health and education. Twenty years on, the report still provides important insights into the process of national development and demonstrates that there's no automatic link between economic growth and human progress. The lead author of the latest report is an Australian: ANU-educated economist Dr Jeni Klugman.