“The good news is, the news is getting better all the time.” That’s the kind of headline that catches attention in the Ode newsroom. The Melbourne Age reports this week that, despite the European debt crisis, faltering Chinese economic growth and uncertainty in North Korea and the Arab world, there are lots of reasons to be optimistic about 2012.
The Age presents a nice list of progress. Life expectancy is up by two years for men and three for women in the past decade with the poorest countries seeing the greatest increase. There is less tuberculosis and malaria. There is less war, less torture, less crime. The short summary: There has never been a better moment to be alive as a human being.
Matt Ridley makes the same point in his recent book The Rational Optimist. The human race is a “collective problem-solving machine,” Ridley writes. Yes, history is full of disasters and bad news and yet it is also full of the promising answers and inspiring solutions that humanity has always found in response.
The only problem is that news media tend to disrupt this creative process with their endless onslaught of negativity. Despite all the great statistics that The Age refers to, many people feel desperate and insecure in our world today. News media distort reality with their focus on whatever goes wrong. But there is even a solution for that problem, it is a magazine that focuses entirely on possibilities and solutions. As an exception that’s a bit self-serving, but nonetheless true.
By Jurriaan Kamp
Photo: maiak.info via Flickr