Things Are Getting Better Every Day

To those that think I’m too damn depressing on this blog about the troubles I’ve seen (or see down the road), here’s a link to a happier post by Instapundit. I’ll just copy and paste what he did and comment:

“Life is getting better—and at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down — all across the globe. Though the world is far from perfect, necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing; Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching people’s lives as never before. The pessimists who dominate public discourse insist that we will soon reach a turning point and things will start to get worse. But they have been saying this for two hundred years. Prosperity comes from everybody working for everybody else. The habit of exchange and specialization—which started more than 100,000 years ago—has created a collective brain that sets human living standards on a rising trend. The mutual dependence, trust, and sharing that result are causes for hope, not despair.”

Well, yes. Absolutely. I’m a complete optimist with regards to human progress and more importantly, science and technology, at least in the long term. The problem is our maturity as a race politically and morally, and that’s definitely a two steps forward, one step back sort of thing. That step back is going to be painful, and it won’t be directly due to specialization or science gone mad, but simply a nasty combination of greed, lack of foresight, and the disturbing propensity of humankind to whistle past the graveyard.

In the long run, though, even through any tough times that may lie ahead, the march of scientific and technological progress will continue, making things better for humankind as a whole. Progress of this sort tends towards a exponential progress, meaning the more we learn, the faster we learn, and I believe, the more unstoppable that learning is. Therefore, any major step back will be pretty temporary, and completely different than anything we’ve experienced before. We’re not going to suffer through a Great Depression like anything our grandparents did. This is a good thing. All this optimism doesn’t mean, though, that we’re not going to see hard times, and perhaps some severe ones.

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