Think the world is getting worse? You’re wrong: the world is, for the most part, not getting worse. But 58 percent of people in 17 countries that were surveyed in 2016 thought the world is either getting worse or staying the same rather than getting better. Americans were even more glum: 65 percent thought the world is getting worse and only 6 percent thought it was getting better. The uncontroversial data on major global trends in this book will persuade you that this dark view of the prospects for humanity and the natural world is, in large part, badly mistaken.
World population will peak at 8 to 9 billion before the end of this century as the global fertility rate continues its fall from 6 children per woman in 1960 to the current rate of 2.4. The global absolute poverty rate has fallen from 42 percent in 1981 to 8.6 percent today. Satellite data show that forest area has been expanding since 1982. Natural resources are becoming ever cheaper and more abundant. Since 1900, the average life expectancy has more than doubled, reaching more than 72 years. Of course, major concerns such as climate change, marine plastic pollution, and declining wildlife populations are still with us, but many of these problems are already in the process of being ameliorated as a result of the favorable economic, social, and technological trends that are documented in this book.
You can’t fix what is wrong in the world if you don’t know what’s actually happening. Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know will provide busy people with quick‐to‐read, easily understandable, and entertaining access to surprising facts that they need to know about how the world is really faring.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
"Read this book and find out why, if you are not an optimist, you should be.”
—Vernon L. Smith, Nobel Prize‐winning economist and George L. Argyros Endowed Chair in Finance and Economics, Chapman University
“If you learn about the world through daily news and social media, you have probably missed the greatest stories of our time. But don’t worry, you’ll quickly catch up with this tour de force. It will make you smarter—and happier. I am a card‐carrying optimist, but Ronald Bailey and Marian Tupy manage to make even me more hopeful about humanity.”
—Johan Norberg, author of Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future, named by The Economist as one of the best books of 2016
“This is an astonishing collection of positive trends. I want every young person to see it and begin to escape the indoctrination in pessimism they have been subjected to by the media and the education system. Making the world a much better place is clearly possible.”
—Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves and How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom
“In these dark times, it is good to remember just how far mankind has come, and how many seemingly impossible problems have been overcome. Keep this book at hand, open it at random, and it will fill you with hope for the future.”
—Angus S. Deaton, Nobel Prize–winning economist and Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs Emeritus, Princeton University
“There are two ways to understand the world: a constant drip of anecdotes about the worst things that have happened anywhere on the planet in the previous hour, or a bird’s-eye view of the grand developments that are transforming the human condition. The first is called ‘the news,’ and for your wisdom and mental health I recommend balancing it with the second. Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know is a pleasure: gorgeous, self‐contained vignettes on human progress, which you can sample at your leisure or devour in a sitting.”
—Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor, Department of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress