2019 and the way we look at things

It’s 2019, and it’s possible to argue that all of these things are true.

  • The United States has a TV personality as a president (American democracy is dying)
  • Britain is imploding under a misguided sense of nationalism (British democracy is dying)
  • The media that holds governments and public figures to account is faltering under an obsolete business model (Democracy dies in darkness)
  • The rise in zero hours contracts has allowed big corporations to maximise profits at the expense of their staff’s physical and mental wellbeing (Uncertainty and anxiety reign)
  • At point we trusted banks, churches, lawyers and medics but we now don’t know who to trust (We are all alone)
  • We are living in the midst of the one of the largest mass extinctions in the history of the planet (And worse, humans are the primary cause)

It’s possible also to argue that all these things are true.

  • Since 1900, average world life expectancy has gone from 31 to 71
  • In 1990, the UN set target of halving extreme poverty rates globally in 25 years. That was achieved in 2010, five years ahead of target
  • Over the last 65 years the global literacy rate has more than doubled – from 42% in 1960 to 86% in 2015 (in real people terms, that’s an increase of 500%, from 1.26bn people who were literate in 1960 to 6.3bn in 2015)
  • It is possible to conduct business with anyone, anywhere in the world, in real time for the price of a computer and an Internet connection (Some people don’t even need the computer)
  • The Internet also allows friendships to blossom and communities to grow between people who might never have found each other previously
  • International travel has never been cheaper or safer (so long as you fly like most of us do)

Some argued that 2016, the year of Brexit and Trump, was the worst year in the history of humanity; others that

Others say that things have never been better, and offer scientific evidence to prove it. (See Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now)

It’s our choice how to view things.

It’s a mistake to be blind to all the bad stuff, because there’s plenty of that. But it’s also a mistake to be blind to all the good things about being alive in 2019.

Collectively, we have an opportunity and an obligation to make things better.

Opening our eyes to everything, the bad and the good, is the only place we can start.