The world has never been a better place to live in and it will keep getting better, says Matt Ridley, and he provides 17 reasons to be cheerful
, here's a sample:
1. We're better off now
Compared with 50 years ago, when I was just four years old, the average
human now earns nearly three times as much money (corrected for inflation),
eats one third more calories, buries two thirds fewer children, and can expect
to live one third longer. In fact, it's hard to find any region of the world
that's worse off now than it was then, even though the global population has
more than doubled over that period.
4. The important stuff costs less
One reason we are richer, healthier, taller, cleverer, longer-lived, and
freer than ever before is that the four most basic human needs-food, clothing,
fuel, and shelter-have grown markedly cheaper. Take one example: In 1800, a
candle providing one hour's light cost six hours' work. In the 1880s, the same
light from a kerosene lamp took 15 minutes' work to pay for. In 1950, it was
eight seconds. Today, it's half a second. In these terms, we are 43,200 times
better off than in 1800.
9. The good old days weren't
Some people argue that in the past there was a simplicity, tranquillity,
sociability, and spirituality that's now been lost. This rose-tinted nostalgia
is generally confined to the wealthy. It's easier to wax elegiac for the life
of a pioneer when you don't have to use an outhouse. The biggest-ever
experiment in back-to-the-land hippie lifestyle is now known as the Dark Ages.
14. Great ideas keep coming
The more we prosper, the more we can prosper. The more we invent, the more
inventions become possible. The world of things is often subject to diminishing
returns. The world of ideas is not: The ever-increasing exchange of ideas
causes the ever-increasing rate of innovation in the modern world. There isn't
even a theoretical possibility of exhausting our supply of ideas, discoveries,
17. Optimists are right
For 200 years, pessimists have had all the headlines-even though optimists
have far more often been right. There is immense vested interest in pessimism.
No charity ever raised money by saying things are getting better. No journalist
ever got the front page writing a story about how disaster was now less likely.
Pressure groups and their customers in the media search even the most cheerful
statistics for glimmers of doom. Don't be browbeaten-dare to be an optimist!
HT: Joe Lais