“Now is the best time, pretty much. Those who think the past is better have not read enough history,” according to Elon Musk of Tesla fame. “I think a lot of times people are quite negative about the present and about the future, but really if you are a student of history, when else would you really want to be alive?”
Bill Gates agrees, “The world is getting better, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.”
Extreme poverty, victims of war and child labour are down. There are fewer famines and the number of deaths from natural disasters is lower than it used to be. We don’t really see this because, for stories to be ‘newsworthy’, they must usually be bad.
But here are some reasons to be happy about the world:
Many countries and individuals are richer:
According to the World Bank, more than a billion people have moved out of extreme poverty since 1990. (The World Bank defines “extreme poverty” as living on less than $1.90 per person per day).
And the Legatum Prosperity Index tells us that in the last 10 years, prosperity has improved in 148 countries out of the 167 it surveys.
Countries considered ‘bad’ are getting better:
The Economist picks a ‘country of the year’ each December. This is, in the Economist’s view, the most improved country that year. In 2020, the prize went to Malawi, in southern Africa, where both democracy and respect for human rights improved, according to the think-tank, Freedom House.