Bright Spots

The World is Getting Better

The World is Getting Better
By Chris Barba
Jan 3, 2019

More than ever, we can easily become consumed in what’s not working that we miss what is working. Taking stock of our collective wins and accomplishments is a powerful practice because it changes the way people think—about progress, about aspirations, or simply about the future looking different. Here are five bright spots that could change your perspective on today’s state of affairs:

  1. In 1950, 50% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. In 2010, less than 10% live in extreme poverty.
  2. Over the past half century, life expectance has risen 20 years.
  3. In 1950, 36% of the world’s population was literate. In 2010, 83% was literate.
  4. In the 1800s, people in the US worked 60 hours per week. Today, people, on average, work 40 hours per week.
  5. In 2008, solar energy was $350 per megawatt hour. In 2016, it was $60 per megawatt hour.

When you look at the data, humanity is at the best point it's ever been. When you look at the news, it can feel different. Ultimately, outlook comes down to the story you choose to subscribe to. What bright spots do you see? 

Meyer, B. D., & Sullivan, J. X. 2016. Consumption and income inequality in the U.S. since the 1960s.
World Bank. 2016g. PovcalNet: An online analysis tool for global poverty monitoring
Our World in Data, Roser 2016, based on data from the UN Child Mortality estimates, and the Human Mortality Database.
Roser, M. 2016. Democracy. Our World in Data.; including data from the following. 
Roser, M. 2016. Working hours. Our World in Data.