I’m a Glass Half Full Sort of Person
To the people that know me I think it’s fair to say that I’m a glass half full sort of person. I was reminded of this in a recent article I read by Paul Clitheroe in the May 2012 issue of Money magazine, in fact I liked what he said so much I’m going to share his thoughts with you.
If you take note of doomsayer news broadcasters, it is easy to think that life is pretty bad. Real estate, shares, the environment, the GFC, obesity levels, super bugs – whichever way you look at it we are worse off than we used to be. But is this really true?
While it is true that there are a lot of things wrong with the planet and with the way we live there is nothing to support the hypothesis that our golden days are behind us. The Economist asked its experts to come up with its outlook for 2050. While superbugs are certainly identified as an issue, they point out in their document called Megachange, the World in 2050 that there is also a lot of good news. We live an average of 25 years longer than we used to (a hundred years ago life expectancy in the western world was 54). Average crop yields have doubled, infant mortality is much reduced, two thirds of nuclear weapons have been dismantled, famine is more rare than it used to be. While we still need to work on global poverty, in 2008 it was estimated that 129 billion people lived on $1.25 a day. But in 1981 this figure was 194 billion people. Even the superbug risk has to be seen in perspective. In Europe in the early 1300’s, the Black Death Plague wiped out a large percentage of the population. At the time Venice was one of the great trading nations of the planet; the plague wiped out 65% of its population. So there is nothing new about superbugs! Many people will remember that in the US after the year 2000 millennium bug forecast, many people rushed out and built special shelters stocked with baked beans and water. Why? Because media predicted planes falling out of the sky and other sorts of chaos indicating social collapse over a computer programming issue as we went into the new century.
Nothing ensures media sales like doomsaying and a few properly researched facts will never be allowed to get in the way of the sales that result from bad news. While it is true that Europe and the US need to sort themselves out and China’s growth is likely to slow, there is nothing to support hypotheses such as the share market will never recover. History shows us hurdles, potholes and road blocks, but life has been consistently getting better for more people.
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