2015: The Best Year in Human History

What we often think is the case.

The Atlantic cuts through much of the pessimism found in the media with data that should make us smile:

From Paris to Syria through San Bernardino to Afghanistan, the world witnessed obscene and unsufferable tragedy in 2015. That was on top of the ongoing misery of hundreds of millions who are literally stunted by poverty, living lives shortened by preventable disease and malnutrition. But for all of that, 2015 also saw continued progress toward better quality of life for the considerable majority of the planet, alongside technological breakthroughs and political agreements that suggest the good news might continue next year and beyond.

And their evidence?:

  • A 35% decline in violent crime rates in the U.S. since the 1995, with a 6% drop in homicide rates worldwide between 2000 and 2012.[ref]Based on countries for which data was available.[/ref]
  • While terrorism and war is up slightly in the last couple years, “across the globe, the numbers of ongoing wars and battle deaths are still far below their levels of the 1970s and 1980s. Furthermore, terrorism, war, and murder together remain a minor cause of death worldwide.”
  • “Famine deaths are increasingly rare and increasingly limited to the few areas of the world suffering complete state collapse. Related to that, the proportion of the world’s population that is undernourished has slipped from 19 percent to 11 percent between 1990 and today.”
  • Vaccines have nearly exterminated diseases like polio and measles, while new ones (such as the recent one to combat Ebola) may prevent future outbreaks. “Meanwhile, the UN reported this year that global child mortality from all causes has more than halved since 1990. That means 6.7 million fewer kids under the age of five are dying each year compared to 1990.”
  • “[T]he number of electoral democracies worldwide remains at a historic high…”
  • Greater LGBT rights worldwide.
  • Increased wealth worldwide.
  • Increased globalization.
  • Increased commitment to battling climate change.

Chris Smith over at Approaching Justice has his own list of “good news” stories from 2015, including:

  • Advances in treatments for cancer and Alzheimer’s.
  • Plummeting U.S. school dropout rates.
  • Women in Saudi Arabia voting and running for office for the first time.

And much more. Check out these links and remember that despite the bad news, the world continues to get better.

Happy New Year.


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