For most of humanity, life is getting better: Statistics reveal improving conditions for most people around the world. At the same time however, pessimism is running rampant: Despite the facts, most people feel conditions are getting worse. In a wide-ranging essay for The New Yorker, writer Joshua Rothman explores this paradox. Drawing from the work of historians, philosophers, pollsters and scientists, he explains why the world isn’t as bad as people think – and how they could be wrong. getAbstract recommends Rothman’s investigation to anyone looking for rational reasons for optimism.
In this summary, you will learn
- Why accurate estimates of humanity’s progress are difficult to make,
- What factors cloud perceptions of humanity’s condition, and
- Why the actual situation qualifies as both “bad” and “getting better.”
About the Author
Joshua Rothman is The New Yorker’s archive editor and a frequent contributor to NewYorker.com, where he writes about books and ideas.