Matt Ridley: "...The truth is that all my life I have been told that the future is bleak. Population, famine, cancer, viruses, climate change, desertification, falling sperm counts, acid rain – I’ve lost count of the reasons they give. Yet all my life, the health and wealth of people keeps on getting better. People live 30% longer than they did when I was born, on average all around the world. Child mortality is down by two-thirds, globally. People earn three times as much money as they did in the 1950s, corrected for inflation.
The world is also cleverer (IQ scores have risen), more equal (the `Gini coefficient’ has fallen), nicer (charitable giving is up, violence is down), freer (autocrats have fallen), and even happier (yes, the statistics do show that happiness increases – a bit – when people get richer. The Thames is cleaner. Deaths from weather-related diseases are at record lows (yes – despite Pakistan). The quantity of oil spilled in the ocean has fallen by 90% since the 1970s (yes – despite BP).
Horrible things will still happen, but inch by inch, people will raise their living standards in this century. There is a lot to look forward to. Don’t let anybody tell your children otherwise''"
The Rational Optimist is a great blog, and this is yet another thoughtful piece from a may who remains optimistic in a climate of fear.