Take 20 minutes and watch this wonderful Ted Talk by Alex Tabarrok of George Mason University. He's a professor but he speaks English. Much of what he says will be familiar to those of you who have heard my presentation, Freedom and Prosperity: The Case for Optimism. Like all Ted Talks, this one is both insightful and crisp–not a single extra word.
My favorite graphic is this picture of world GDP per capita for the last million years or so. We don't have exceptionally accurate GDP figures for the caveman era–but we actually know enough about their food and shelter to make a crude estimate.
Growth is a fairly recent phenomenon, and despite the recession, its long-term outlook is very good.