Reasons to be cheerful…

I love this positive piece from Philip Collins. Worth quoting his reasons at length.

  1. We are living through a long arc of progress and it will take more than Nigel Farage to bend it backwards.

  2. Democracy is not in peril; it is thriving. More than four billion people live under a democratic government. This is a towering historical achievement. Power was transferred discreetly and peacefully in 2016 in Ghana, Morocco, Japan, South Korea, Croatia, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain and the United States. In Gambia, the 22-year tyranny of President Yahya Jammeh ended when he was beaten by the opposition candidate, Adama Barrow.

  3. Myanmar swore in its first elected civilian leader in more than 50 years.Taiwan is on the verge of becoming the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage. Gambia and Tanzania banned child marriage. In June, the pan-African parliament endorsed a ban on female genital mutilation across the continent. For the first time ever, the death penalty has become illegal in more than half of the world’s countries.

  4. The last of the western nations to recognise same-sex unions capitulated in 2016. Take a belated bow, Italy.

  5. The world kept getting richer. The number of people living in extreme poverty fell below 10 per cent for the first time. Since 1990 almost 1.1 billion have escaped extreme poverty. World hunger reached its lowest point for 25 years in 2016 and it was the first ever year in which the total amount needed to eradicate poverty fell below the money spent on foreign aid.

  6. Average household income in Britain grew at its fastest rate since 2001.

  7. Employment at a record high of over 75 per cent and near zero inflation helped living standards recover.

  8. The introduction of the national living wage meant that pay inequality fell.

  9. The world got healthier again. Since 2000, global malaria deaths have declined by 60 per cent. Since their peak a decade ago, AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 45 per cent. Maternal mortality  has fallen 44 per cent since 1990. Infant mortality has halved over the same period.

  10. Worldwide, people can expect an extra seven years of life compared to a relative born in 1990.

  11. The WHO announced that measles has been eradicated in all the Americas, from Canada to Chile. In April, the WHO said that polio could be wiped out within a year.

  12. In wealthy countries, colon cancer, dementia and heart disease are all waning.

  13. The environment improved. For the third year in succession, global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels did not grow at all. China hit its peak coal usage in 2014 and India announced it has so much capacity that it won’t need any new coal plants for three years. Acid pollution is back to 1930s levels and a survey in June showed that the hole in the ozone layer is still shrinking, and should be healed by 2050.

Source: Never forget that we live in the best of times | Comment | The Times & The Sunday Times

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