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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 phenomenon 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.

The world has made tremendous progress against extreme poverty,

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7 Ways The World Is Getting Better

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    Samuel posted on 2018/04/03
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