Why 2018 was the best year ever
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.