News of success is the best way to inspire continued progress, according to Australian think tank Future Crunch.
“We really feel that negativity leads to cynicism, apathy, hopelessness and even hate,” said FC’s Tane Hunter. “While it does galvanise a few people into action, for the vast majority it really causes a retraction.”
“We believe a much better way to inspire change is through optimism. We believe that’s the best method and emotion to drive creative innovation and to build a better future.”
One example is to go beyond the stories heralding the economic “success stories” of these nations in the last few years:
According to Future Crunch, the greatest economic success story of all time is currently taking place in countries around the world.
For most of recorded history, they said, only a tiny elite enjoyed higher standards of living. By far the majority of people were dirt poor—”bone-crushing, unrelenting, one-inadequate-meal-a-day, soul-destroying, no-dentist, no-doctor, no-electricity, single-accident-means-life-and-death poor”; inequality was just the way the world worked. As recently as 1970, around 60% of the world’s 3.7 billion people lived in extreme poverty. Today, less than 10% do, the lowest proportion of people in extreme poverty ever.
As Oxford researcher Max Roser puts it, the front page headline every day for the last 25 years should have read:
SINCE YESTERDAY, 137,000 PEOPLE
HAVE BEEN LIFTED OUT OF EXTREME POVERTY.
Future Crunch know the world is not a perfect place. “We still have massive issues with climate change, mass migration, Trump, Brexit, the rise of the alt-right, terrorism and Syria,” Hunter said.
But they insist, “you have to hold two ideas in your head at once: that the world is getting better and the world is not yet good enough. Our successors in the past should really give us hope as we move forward into the future.”
For the average human being on the planet today, the world has never been a better place. That’s a story well worth telling.