B1 Intermediate US 14601 Folder Collection
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The world has made tremendous progress against extreme poverty,
the minimum amount of income necessary to feed your family.
Now, about less than 10% of the world
falls in extreme poverty.
Just three decades ago, it was 30%.
The progress that we've enjoyed
did not happen all by itself.
The ingredients for continued progress are present.
Thinking about the well-being of men, women, and children.
That's the overall philosophy I call humanism.
Progress comes from people solving problems,
from people setting a goal of improving the lot of humanity.
It comes from just the overall application of reason.
It's only by looking at trends
that you realize how much progress that we've made.
To be a happier person,
you can't let your view of the world
be determined by news headlines
because as long as bad events haven't vanished from the face of the earth,
they'll always be enough of them to fill the news.
Wars still go on,
including the worst war in a generation in Syria,
but by and large the trend in war has been downward.
A fraction of the number of people are killed in wars today, compared to the '60s, '70s, and the '80s.
The signing of the Colombian Peace Agreement,
the last war in the Western Hemisphere came to an end,
so an entire hemisphere is free of war.
In fact, 5/6 of the earth's surface is free of war.
That's an example of a kind of trend that you can't really pick up from the news
because when a country doesn't have a war, it's not news.
Child mortality is down.
Maternal mortality is down.
Illiteracy is down.
90% of the world's population under the age of 25 can read and write.
We're getting smarter.
In a phenomemon called the Flynn Effect,
IQ scores have been rising by three points a decade
for almost a century.
We spend, waste less of our waking hours on housework.
We work fewer hours.
We have access to culture.
All these developments--
they just never make the news,
but they give you a bit more confidence in the way the world is heading.
Move backward,
if we look nostalgically to a golden age which never existed,
if we prioritize competition between nations
over overall cooperation,
if we fall prey to dogma or charisma, superstition as opposed to hardheaded reason,
then progress could slow down
and in some cases, even reverse.
Despite some of the unfortunate political events of the last couple of years,
there's an enormous will to improve the state of humanity, to lift up formally oppressed minorities,
to advance the rights of women,
to advance the well-being of people in the developing world,
and if we can continue to mobilize that energy,
then future progress is absolutely possible.
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7 Ways The World Is Getting Better

14601 Folder Collection
Samuel published on September 18, 2018    Rachel Kung translated    reviewed
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