03 January 2011

The Good News Of The Last Decade

Rather than coming up with my own good news from the last decade, which I'm not disposed to do with the front page story in the paper is Republican plots to repeal health care reform, I'll crip off others including science fiction writer Charles Stross who notes:

1. AIDs is treatable.
2. "[B]oth China and India underwent annual economic growth averaging around 10% per year throughout the decade. The number of people living in poverty and with unsafe water supplies world-wide today is about the same as it was in 1970. Only difference is, there were 3 billion of us back then and today we're nearer to 7 billion. Upshot: the proportion of us humans on this planet who are living in third world poverty (unable to afford enough food, water, clothing and shelter) has actually been halved."
3. "Africa averaged around 5% growth throughout the decade, too." Some haven't shared in those gains due to events like the Congo War, but those who escaped wars have come out far better than that average.
4. "we haven't nuked ourselves." We have had the longest time period (about sixty years) without an international war in Europe since the Roman Empire, and the number of people living in war zones dropped greatly in the last decade on top of further drops after the Cold War.
5. Computer technology is faster, has greater broadband speed, has more storage capacity and in cheaper by orders of magnitude from a decade ago.
6. Genetic science has advanced greatly.
7. The pace of terrorism seems to have slowed down in the first world.

And, I'll also turn to "The Big Picture" which notes:

1. Cell phone use has gone from rare to predominant.
2. Internet use is way up.
3. U.S. population density is modestly up and U.S. power consumption is modestly down. In part driven by rising oil prices.

But, the environmental picture is still bleak. Global warming continues and is speeding up, more species are endangered, and natural disasters have been worse in the last decade than in the decade before it.

Economically, the good news is that things aren't getting worse in employment or GDP. The bad news, however, is that employment isn't improving very fast.

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