A large part of our world is functionally illiterate ... about a billion people are illiterate and another billion barely so.
This is a major loss to the world, causing disenfranchisement, disaffection, disillusionment, dysfunction, and costing us an estimated $1 trillion in lost productivity.
We are trapped in a vicious cycle:
The consequences are devastating, for individuals, nations and the world:
The illiterate die young, and their children do as well
They earn less money
They are likelier to go to prison, even in developed countries
Their societies experience more crime, disease, poverty, lawlessness, social unrest, intolerance, and upheaval
There is a strong correlation between illiteracy and poverty, poor health, and crime in almost every society in the world.
Among nations, countries with higher literacy invariably have higher per capita income. There is a positive, exponential relationship between literacy rate and GDP per capita.
Conversely, the benefits of education are tremendous.
Taking only GDP as one factor, an increase of 1% point in global literacy would increase world GDP disproportionately, by billions of dollars. The opportunity is significantly larger and amplified further when the social benefits of education are taken into account.