Why 2018 was the best year ever

The Week (US) - - News - Ni­cholas Kristof

The New York Times

Ev­ery­one knows that “the world is go­ing to hell,” said Ni­cholas

Kristof, but “let me try to make the case that 2018 was ac­tu­ally the best year in hu­man his­tory.” It’s the na­ture of the news busi­ness to fo­cus on dis­as­ters, war, star­va­tion, and en­vi­ron­men­tal threats, but such cover­age leaves most peo­ple “spec­tac­u­larly mis­in­formed.” In polls, 90 per­cent of Amer­i­cans say global poverty is get­ting worse or not im­prov­ing; in fact, poverty is rapidly re­treat­ing. In the early 1980s, 44 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion lived in “ex­treme poverty”—de­fined as less than $2 per per­son per day. Now fewer than 10 per­cent live in ex­treme poverty. Ev­ery day on av­er­age last year, 295,000 peo­ple gained elec­tric­ity for the first time, 305,000 got clean drink­ing wa­ter for the first time, and an­other 620,000 were hooked up to the in­ter­net. Life­spans and lit­er­acy are rapidly in­creas­ing. It may seem “Pollyan­naish” to cel­e­brate these vic­to­ries, “but a fail­ure to ac­knowl­edge global progress can leave peo­ple feel­ing hope­less and ready to give up.” What has al­ready been ac­com­plished “should show us what is pos­si­ble,” and help fuel our ef­forts to make the world a bet­ter place.

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