Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Five thoughts at the same time

Carl Hamilton in Studio 8/TV8 claimed this evening that I am too optimistic about world development. Well, his program showed how majority of Swedes think that the world is getting worse. In this context it is difficult to avoid the impression of optimism when conveying that family size and child mortality has decreased considerably in Bangladesh and elsewhere in Asia and the Arab world. ( and click "Has the world become a better place?").

An evidence base world view requires five thoughts at the same time:
1. World is getting better and better,
2. but at the cost of climate change,
3. and billions still live miserable lives in poverty
4. and in the last decade life got worse for 100 of millions,
5. but as the world is stupidly managed, we have many opportunities to fix the world for the grandkids!

It is not optimistic to see that 350 billion USD in agricultural subsidies in the richest countries is stupid, that fighting wars for oil instead of investing in energy research is suboptimal, that improved governance can do a lot for progress in low income countries, and that if Senegal has less than 1% HIV and South Africa has 28% among adults it is in human reach to change sex behavior and stop the epidemic. It is just to realize that there are plenty of opportunities at hand to make the world continue to improve. Reaming poverty, climate change, and ethnic wars are major threats.