New story from The Rotarian:
If you watch the news, you could be forgiven for believing the world is on the brink of collapse. In the current media environment, that message is in heavy rotation, and it gets heavier all the time. In 2017, 59 percent of Americans said this was “the lowest point in U.S. history that they can remember.” To many, it seems obvious that the present is far worse than the past.
But Gregg Easterbrook has some news for them: The facts don’t support that conclusion. In his new book, It’s Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear, he argues that the developed world is mired in “declinism” — the belief that things are getting worse all the time — when the opposite is true. In almost every area — the environment, the economy, education, health — Easterbrook says conditions are improving thanks to government policies and the efforts of organizations such as Rotary to find solutions to the problems we face.
Why is this so hard to believe? Some of the reasons are psychological, some are economic, some are cultural. But the misperception matters, because pessimism can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. To solve problems, we must believe they can be solved.