7 Jan 2019                     home

Progress in 2018?

Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times headlines his opinion column "Why 2018 Was the Best Year in Human History! Once again, the world’s population was living longer and living better than ever before."

In 1960, 19 percent of children worldwide died before age 5. In 2003 that was down to 7 percent. In 2918 it was down to 4 percent. In the 1990s, he writes, "30,000 kids were dying each day. In "the last 24 hours," he writes, "that number was down to 15,000."

Kristof mentions Ethiopia having made astounding progress last year against authoritarianism and poor governance.

Someone comments about Stephen Pinker's writing about progress. Someone else thanks Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett for their help.

Someone else complains about population growth, that more children surviving "without a concomitant practice of birth control", means we are killing ourselves faster. Someone else writes about refugees drowning in the Mediterranean "while things were better than ever before in their homelands."

Another: "Does it seem narrow to only view progress in terms of people while most of the other species on earth are threatened, with many going extinct every year?"

Climate change is mentioned: "All of this 'good news' is overshadowed by 'Climate Change,' which represents an existential threat to the planet."

One more: "January 20, 2017, the day Donald J Trump took the oath of office as president of the United States, marks the beginning of the decline of human civilization."

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