World getting better all the time


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/08/03/world-getting-better-all-the-t.html


#2

Thanks. We need that reminder round these parts.


#3

#4

These things aren’t disconnected. More people, and more people out of poverty means more people buying stuff. Better-functioning governments with better infrastructure means more roads and cars. Etc, etc.

(Maybe the original article was making the connection with the second graph? But it seemed to me like a “but”, not a “therefore”.)


#5

Make no mistake about it these are dark times. A formal education that leaves you unable to question reality around you is useless, the amount of telephone sanitizes and used car salesman does not equal more prosperity. Why does it matter if more people can read when they don’t read. I would hardly call our system of government a democracy. Medical science has advanced yes and computer science is being used as a oppressive force. A Brave New World type scenario has plenty of material prosperity and little true freedom but people embrace it.


#6

That’s pretty pessimistic. Sure the world isn’t perfect and lots of room for improvement, but its still heads over tail better for most people than it was a little as 100 years ago. I’d rather be living in an imperfect world than dead - which was the option for many, many people a short time ago.

They should have included how few people were dying in wars around the world as well.


#7

The 1 percent enjoying democracy in 1820, what/where are they referring to?


#8

I am reminded of Tom Wolfe’s phrase “happiness explosion” (circa early 1970’s):

[Wolfe] … shared a story about a sixties encounter between novelist (and ex–Waffen SS member) Günter Grass and Allen Ginsberg, who was mouthing off about America’s descent into Fascism. Grass didn’t appreciate the comparison. Wolfe said he set them all straight — “We’re in the middle of a happiness explosion!”


#9

I’m happy, but to be fair I’m retiring soon.


#10

So you’re saying CO2 causes democracy and vaccination? Who knew!


#11

He was much less pleased with the world when he was a poor comedian on Dr Katz.

It is amazing what owning a yacht can do for an attitude.


#12

Well he in a later interview said, “There was no guy next to me. It was me. I was furious. And then I caught myself, and was like, ‘What am I doing? Why am I upset? Does waiting an extra 20 min to board really affect me in the grand scheme?’” (paraphrased)

So, you know, it’s a bit. But like most good bits it stems from real life, which includes him. I am sure many of us have had some epiphany at some point in their life.


#13

Ab-fab-so-lutely. As a comedian he has really stretched his wings in the last several years of his routines.

And his work ethic is crazy. And I admire him for releasing his audio shows on his website for like five bucks.

He has earned his yacht. But, though, I miss his, “Have you ever had negative money in your account …” bit. It was more understandable to me.


#14

It’s still an option for many, victims of an oppressive war on drugs at home, the many slaughtered in South America and the middle east to keep a failing empire alive. 2% of our population behind bars, take a visit to Mexico or try to immigrate to a country that will hold you indefinitely. You don’t have to go far to see the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Chiraq, Detroit; anywhere between Newark NJ and DC razor wire is a common site on the tops of building to keep the air conditioners from being stolen. You’re happy because we’re on the receiving end of an exploitative system.


#15

Have you ever seen his early 90s stuff? OMFG - sooo bad… and he looked like a cheesy 90s comedian.

Yeah, like I said, it ain’t perfect. And while the rich may be richer, there are soooo many people who aren’t dirt poor. Even those being exploited like in China now have it considerably better over all. Look at their exploding middle class, their increase in basic living conditions. etc. You point out razor wire, but violent crime overall in the US is at its lowest point in decades. There are still wars going on, but their death tolls are very small compared to the rest of history.

Looking around and saying, “Boy, it’s so much better than it was.” Doesn’t mean one is completely content nor that there isn’t a lot more work to be done.


#16

Very true.


#17

Iceland, if I’m not mistaken.


#18

Oh! Perhaps also the USofA. Post 1776 and all…


#19

Cogent reference. I really try to maintain this perspective, but find myself aligning with @timthebarbarian’s pessimism a lot. In reality, they’re both right. We are at a moment of unprecedented prosperity, health and general welfare, yet there are countless indicators of a descent into fascism from the selfsame societies that so vigorously opposed it in the 20th century. The tension between these poles is where vigilance resides.

Constant vigilance!


#20

I have come to be suspicious of “new optimists” and their “look how everything is getting better” agitprop. Because focusing on the ways things are improving is one way to avoid admitting that there are things that are not improving or getting much worse, like inequality, the climate, racist extremists in power, and so on.

From the above link: