It can be difficult to be optimistic when there is so much to worry about. Whether it’s the evolving threat from ISIS, the slowdown in the global economy or the disintegration of the European Union, there is plenty to occupy the evergreen pessimist.
There is an excellent interactive source of information for those interested in long-run trends relating to the most important aspects of human life – including food security, incomes, the cost of living and leisure time. It’s called Human Progress and it is supported by the Cato Institute. Here are some highlights from their exhaustive study on measurable indicators of progress and prosperity.
1. Agricultural innovation is feeding the world
2. Global human development levels continue to rise steadily
3. The average worker spends 400 fewer hours in work than in 1950
4. It’s getting easier to start up a business – unleashing the entrepreneurial energies of the world’s population
5. Much of this has been driven by the spread of free trade around the world
Complement this with Max Roser’s Our World in Data and Hans Rosling’s Gapminder project. Together these offer three fantastic tools to see through the gloom of current affairs.