Is civilization teetering on the edge of a cliff? Or are we just climbing higher than ever?Most people who read the news would tell you that 2017 is one of the worst years in recent memory. We're facing a series of deeply troubling, even existential problems: fascism, terrorism, environmental collapse, racial and economic inequality, and more.Yet this narrative misses something important: by almost every meaningful measure, the modern world is better than it ever has been. In the United States, disease, crime, discrimination, and most forms of pollution are in long-term decline, while longevity and education keep rising and economic indicators are better than in any past generation. Worldwide, malnutrition and extreme poverty are at historic lows, and the risk of dying by war or violence is the lowest in human history.It's not a coincidence that we're confused--our perspectives on the world are blurred by the rise of social media, the machinations of politicians, and our own biases. Meanwhile, political reforms like the Clean Air Act and technological innovations like the hybridization of wheat have saved huge numbers of lives. In that optimistic spirit, Easterbrook offers specific policy reforms to address climate change, inequality, and other problems, and reminds us that there is real hope in conquering such challenges. In an age of discord and fear-mongering, It's Better Than It Looks will profoundly change your perspective on who we are, where we're headed, and what we're capable of....
|Title||:||It’s Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear|
|Number of Pages||:||352 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Download » It’s Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear|
It’s Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear Reviews
This book is a must-read, especially with the current pessimist and nostalgic good old days mood all around us. It was one of the books that changed my view significantly towards many aspects, e.g. climate change, economy, violence and poverty. A large portion of the optimism is based on a myriad of facts and numbers, which are convincing. Yet, I have the impression that sometimes they are also based on some wishful thinking and not as concrete as the other sections. I felt that sometimes the ar ...more
I think books like this are important. It seems like the current zeitgeist tends to push individuals towards commiserating with one another (and self-aggrandizing) through an easily accessible yet poorly-supported or justified skepticism of progress. Books like this make me feel better about working hard to improve the things that are immediately obvious within the amazingly complex social structure and historical context I find myself in. I've found this type of improvement in outlook produces ...more
The shared tactic of Sanders and Trump, the NYT and Fox: manipulation by crisis and the creation of an us vs them siege mentality, despite the fact that on the whole, by nearly every measurable outcome, we are better off than generations past. In Easterbrook’s updated argument for dynamism and against declinism, he explores the gap between what we are inclined to believe, vs. what is true. Why such a gap, exploited by the left and right equally? How can we protect ourselves against attitudes of ...more
If you can ignore the politicians (they want your vote) and the news media (if it bleeds it leads), one can objectively see that never before has civilization looked this promising. Disease control, food production, peace and prosperity have been at record highs. This is the fundamental thesis that Gregg portends.
That said, the situation around the world (especially in the US) is far from perfect. Wealth disparity continues to widen. Our nation's debt levels and future social security is dubious ...more
I have many policy disagreements with the author, for example, his take on entitlements but I agree with most of the spirit of the book. Things are not as bad as they look and holding on to an overly pessimistic view of current events can lead to problems of our own making. Remember kiddies right-wing authoritarian ideologies thrive on fear. Things are not as bad as they seem and will get better more from an outlook that looks more for the positive than dwell on the negative.
Very interesting book and required reading for anyone still fighting off post-2016 election depression. Easterbrook convincingly argues that the general perceptions of world decline regarding food supply and hunger, disease, inequality, violence and crime, etc, are greatly overblown, if not completely falsified in many cases. He negs on politicians MANY times, but takes shots at both democrats and republicans enough that his position didn't lean to far one way in my opinion. I would have liked t ...more
This is a Goodreads win review. This book is very relevant to the times we are living in. Every I see the news on any channel it is full of American politics, and what bad shape our country is in. We also see almost daily acts of terrorism, rascism, wage inequality, sexual harrassement, climate change, natural disasters from weather. So the state of things looks pretty bad. But despite these problems democracy is still the best form of government for the better world we want to live in. He state ...more
If you are contented by feeling that this is the worst of all possible times, that hordes of immigrants are destroying our nation, that crazy people of the left or the right are the enemy of all good, that we will run out of everything, that the world is ending soon, this is not the book for you.
By the same token, if you are looking for unicorns and flying silver puppies, this realistic analysis will not satisfy you.
But Gregg Easterbrook’s rational optimism is hopeful without being pollyannish. ...more