Is life better than you think?


Supervisor Jim Desmond

5th district

Watching the news or reading the headlines, you would think life is pretty bleak. I often use the comparison that watching the news is like eating junk food. It can be fun while you are doing it, but you will feel sick after you finish. There is a reason for the old cliché in the news: “If it bleeds, it leads. Numerous studies confirm this, with bad news being more memorable than good. But is coverage guaranteed? Is life as a whole getting better or worse?

From 1990 to 2015, nearly 130,000 people were lifted out of poverty every day and extreme poverty has been reduced by 80% since 1990. There are several reasons for this, but one of the main factors is the incredible technology growth. More than 4.6 billion people have access to the Internet around the world, providing access to education for people who may never have been able to before.

In the 1850s, literacy rates were around 10% worldwide. In 2019, for people over 15, this number rose to over 86%!

From 1960 to 2011, global life expectancy increased from 52 years to almost 70 years. During the same period, the infant mortality rate fell by 66%. It is an incredible achievement.

A recent Center for Disease Control survey indicated that 63% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 suffer from anxiety or depression. It is a heartbreaking number. Are there still major issues that we need to address? Absoutely. We see it every day, from conflicts in the Middle East to rising political tensions. But huge progress has also been made over the decades.

We are fortunate to live in a country that has paved the way not only for Americans, but those around the world. Capitalism, coupled with technological innovation, has played a major role in lifting people out of poverty. So the next time you read a negative headline or feel a sense of unhappiness over world events, be sure to remember that we’ve come a long way and there has never been a better time to be on this planet!


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