Is the world going better or worse?

October 24, 2021by Editorial Team
Quintessence of Energy and Art

This question has always been baffling and contentious. But curious and critical minds share brilliant insights into this debate.

Weighing it out

Most of the news that that we get from global news media is centered around violence stemming from intolerance. This makes us feel hopeless with each passing day about the future. Deadly explosions take away thousands of lives, religious sites get vandalized, or thousands of innocent children get killed or maimed as an outcome of prolonged ethnic conflicts . However there is the other side to this picture as well.

Since 1990, more than 1.2 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty and child mortality has dropped by more than half.Death at childbirth has reduced and maternal mortality rate has declined by 43 percent between the years 1990 and 2015. Child labour has reduced by approximately 40% between 2000-2016. Literacy rate has risen globally from 33% in 1930 to more than 85% in present times. The decline in global nuclear weapon stockpile has significantly reduced from the astounding 70,300 warheads in 1986.Today more than half of the world’s population live in a democracy. In transportation, prevalence of electric cars and natural gas vehicles has increased, lowering carbon emission by 17-30%.
To further these achievements, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has been adopted towards implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). All countries – developed and developing, are trying to achieve it in a global partnership.

However, we are not aware of these innumerable ways in which the world is getting better, mostly due to a strong negativity bias. Unpleasant news, covered in bold headlines to increase the TRP, gets more coverage than good news. Negative news,, affect people more, and for longer, than positive ones.


So, has progress happened?

Progress does not mean that everything has to be perfect; that would be a miracle and it isn’t a miracle either. Progress is a testable hypothesis, an outcome of human efforts guided by ideas. Edison while inventing the light bulb, had to experiment almost a hundred elements to select the filament of the bulb, before he identified tungsten as the most befitting element.


An attempt to quantify

If we consider human well-being and the parameters that define it,  there are several ones.  These include life, health, sustenance, prosperity, peace, freedom, safety, knowledge, leisure and happiness. In the World Happiness Index, that measures the happiness quotient of 149 countries across the world, Bhutan ranks 95, ahead of India at 139. Their spiritual beliefs make them the epitome of simple living and high thinking. The people of Bhutan simply believe that conservation of the environment is the way of life whereas in India there is a problem of unemployment, pollution, poverty and a host of others.

Optimism- the connecting thread

What keeps us going in the world of strife is Hope- a zest of optimism paired with realism that brings in the change. Despite all of our ongoing global challenges, humanity has never been better off. Not only are we living healthier, happier, and safer lives than ever before, but new technological tools are also opening up a universe of opportunities, making our world a better place to be in.

About the authors

The article has been contributed by the following students from Our Lady Queen of the Mission School, Park Circus, Kolkata: Tanisha Majumdar, Tiya Doshi, Alaafia Siddiqui and Shambhavi Mishra.

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