Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Reason #203: Hope - No, Really

Above you will find Fareed Zakaria's commencement speech at the Harvard graduation ceremony last week. Some excerpts:

"The world we live in is, first of all, at peace -­ profoundly at peace. The richest counties of the world are not in geopolitical competition with one another, fighting wars, proxy wars, or even engaging in arms races or 'cold wars.' (...) The number of people who have died as a result of war, civil war and yes, terrorism, is down 50 percent this decade from the 1990s. It is down 75 percent from the preceding five decades, the decades of the Cold War, and it is of course down 99 percent from the decade before that, which is World War II."

"...the United Nations estimates that poverty has been reduced more in the past 50 years than in the previous 500 years. And much of that reduction has taken place in the last 20 years. The average Chinese person is ten times richer than he or she was 50 years ago – and lives for 25 years longer. Life expectancy across the world has risen dramatically. We gain five hours of life expectancy every day – without even exercising!"
It's very easy, and very fashionable, to bitch about the state of the world--especially in comparison to some mythical Golden Age.

I wanted this blog to be about optimism. And this is why.

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