The Best Decade Ever (January 2020)
Happy New Year, New Decade and all that good stuff! It seems like we were just celebrating the holidays, saying good-bye to the 10’s and saying hello to the 20’s and just like that, Bam!, the first month is gone. So let’s not waste any more time and start this new decade off on a positive note by looking at what’s good in this world. According to Johan Norberg, a native of Sweden and author of the book, “Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future”, the 2010’s were the best decade ever. That’s a pretty bold statement for sure. Here are ten reasons he cites when making this claim:
- 28% of all the wealth mankind has ever created (measured as GDP per capita), was created in these ten years.
- Extreme poverty more than halved, from 18.2% to 8.6%. The number of poor was reduced by 158,000 – every day.
- The child mortality rate was reduced by a third. As a result, 2.1 million children’s deaths were prevented this year (2019).
- Life expectancy increased from 69.5 to 72.6 years. So every day in the past decade, the average life span increased almost 8 hours.
- The share of people governed by laws criminalizing consensual same-sex acts declined from 40% to 27% (down from 74% in 1969).
- The share of countries with laws protecting women from violent partners increased from 53% to 78%.
- The global death rate from indoor and outdoor pollution declined 19%.
- Despite global warming, deaths from climate-related disasters declined by a third, to 0.35 per 100,000 people. A reduction by 95% since the 1960’s.
- Many rich countries have reached “peak stuff”. The consumption of 66 out of 72 resources tracked by the US Geological Survey is declining.
- Despite setbacks and strongman nostalgia, the share who live in a “not free” country declined from 34% to 26% (down from 42.5% in 1980).
Unfortunately, we don’t hear or read about this much in our news sources due to the media’s mantra of ‘if it bleeds, it leads’. It is certainly true there are still challenges and issues we face on this planet, not everything is perfect. But it is critical that we be mindful of the progress we are making and celebrate it, that we teach our kids about it. Then get back to work and continue to improve from here. As one of my business coaches taught me many years ago: our focus should be on progress, not perfection. You’ll be amazed at where you (and our precious globe) will be in 10 years.
Have a wonderful day and an even better decade to follow!