The Paradox of Progress
The following is an excerpt from the first chapter of my book Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope.
We live in an interesting time in that, materially, things are arguably better than they have ever been before, yet, we all seem to be losing our minds thinking the world is one giant toilet bowl about to be flushed. An irrational sense of hopelessness is spreading across the rich, developed world. It’s a paradox of progress: the better things get, the more anxious and desperate we all seem to feel.
Pessimism is widespread in the wealthy, developed world. When the public opinion data company YouGov surveyed people in seventeen countries in 2017 on whether they believed the world was getting better, worse, or staying the same, fewer than 10 percent of people in the richest countries believed it was getting better. In the United States, only 6 percent said it was getting better. In Australia and France, that figure was only 3 percent. The only major developed country surveyed where the majority believed the world was getting better was China. See Max Roser, “Good News: The World Is Getting Better. Bad News: You Were Wrong About How Things Have …
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