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Five reasons

December 22, 2013

Here’s a very interesting article from ThinkProgress.org. I’ve kept their five reasons but omitted the specifics. If you’re intrested, RTWT.

5 Reasons Why 2013 Was The Best Year In Human History

Between the brutal civil war in Syria, the government shutdown and all of the deadly dysfunction it represents, the NSA spying revelations, and massive inequality, it’d be easy to for you to enter 2014 thinking the last year has been an awful one.

But you’d be wrong. We have every reason to believe that 2013 was, in fact, the best year on the planet for humankind.

Contrary to what you might have heard, virtually all of the most important forces that determine what make people’s lives good — the things that determine how long they live, and whether they live happily and freely — are trending in an extremely happy direction. While it’s possible that this progress could be reversed by something like runaway climate change, the effects will have to be dramatic to overcome the extraordinary and growing progress we’ve made in making the world a better place.

Here’s the five big reasons why.

1. Fewer people are dying young, and more are living longer. […]
2. Fewer people suffer from extreme poverty, and the world is getting happier. […]
3. War is becoming rarer and less deadly. […]
4. Rates of murder and other violent crimes are in free-fall. […]
5. There’s less racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination in the world.

I have a few differences with the author:

  • I’m not worried about inequality of outcome so long as equality of opportunity still applies. While I don’t think it always applies everywhere, I think it’s true more often than not. Let’s not make the Perfect the enemy of the Good.
  • Neither am I worried about the "deadly dysfunction" of a government shutdown. Democratic partisans like to ignore the fact that passing sweeping legislation (Obamacare) on a strictly party-line vote will always result in determined opposition from the other party. (No Republican representatives voted for the bill.) But if the roles were reversed, then Democratic partisans would be lauding their own obstructive efforts as The Will Of The People or whatever.
  • I’m not too concerned about "runaway climate change" and my guess is that many who are concerned now will change their minds later.
  • He neglects to mention that deaths from cancer continue to fall in the U.S.

Overall, I think the article highlights some very positive trends. There are always so many people using Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt to promote their agendas — and so many fans of Apocalypse Porn — that it’s very easy to ignore all the progress that’s being made.

After you read the ThinkProgress piece, check out the Cato Institute’s HumanProgress.org site for more in the same vein.

And Happy New Year!

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