A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times


I can’t ever recall a time when the news was really more depressing.

Watch the evening bulletin any day, and it’s just a seemingly endless catalogue of war, misery, poverty, disasters, cuts, unemployment and crime.  And the evening news is just the beginning of it all, because there’s not a minute in the day when this barrage isn’t assaulting our senses, through 24 hour news, radio, newspapers and the internet. 

And it’s therefore not surprising then that there’s a general perception that things are really quite bad out there in our world. 

But is this really true?

Not according to author and academic Matt Ridley in his book 'The Rational Optimist', who fully argues that not only are things nowhere near as bad as they may seem in this world of high tech reporting, but that there’s never actually been a better time to be alive. 

Just consider some of the evidence:

Average lifespan worldwide is increasing by 5 hours… per day!

Male life expectancy in the UK now has risen from 72 years to 78 years just since 1980.

Between 2000 and 2010, there were fewer deaths from war for any other period since 1945.

Child mortality has fallen by a whole two thirds over the past 50 years.

The chances of becoming a victim of crime in the UK are at a 30 year low.

London’s air and rivers have never been so clean and free of pollution.

IQ scores are rising all over the world (even if it doesn’t show).

Democracy is more prevalent than at any other time in history.

The average worker in 1957 earned less (allowing for inflation) than a modern father on today's state benefits.

A modern car emits 95% less pollutants than a car from the 1970’s.

Air travel is 13 times safer than it was in 1969.

The death rate from heart attacks and strokes has halved since 1970.

The probability of death from flood, storm or drought is just 2% of what it was in the 1920’s.

Charitable donations are at an all time high.

You see, the truth of the matter is that bad stuff has always happened to us, but we just didn’t have the technology beam every last horrible, gory detail into people’s homes before like we do now.

In the past, we only got to see our own bit of bad luck and misery, but not everyone else’s.  And the bits we did see were only fleetingly covered in an evening bulletin or a morning newspaper. We didn’t see it and so we didn’t worry about it. Contrast that with today though – we often see more than we need to and we’re impacted more than is really necessary.

The average person on earth today is, believe it or not, wealthier, healthier, smarter, cleaner safer, fitter, stronger, better informed, more peaceful, kinder, freer, more equal and happier than at any other time in human history. 

But they don’t tell you that on the news though, do they now?

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1 Comment:

  1. stephie said...
    agree that the news is sometimes a downer, and the worst of it is the weather report! Life isn't that bad, just seems that way because everything that ever happens is broadcast on Twitter and Fb immediately!

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