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Why 2012 was the best year ever
spectator.co.uk ^ | December 15, 2012

Posted on 12/17/2012 10:14:17 AM PST by grundle

Never in the history of the world has there been less hunger, less disease and more prosperity

It may not feel like it, but 2012 has been the greatest year in the history of the world. That sounds like an extravagant claim, but it is borne out by evidence. Never has there been less hunger, less disease or more prosperity. The West remains in the economic doldrums, but most developing countries are charging ahead, and people are being lifted out of poverty at the fastest rate ever recorded. The death toll inflicted by war and natural disasters is also mercifully low. We are living in a golden age.

To listen to politicians is to be given the opposite impression — of a dangerous, cruel world where things are bad and getting worse. This, in a way, is the politicians’ job: to highlight problems and to try their best to offer solutions. But the great advances of mankind come about not from statesmen, but from ordinary people. Governments across the world appear stuck in what Michael Lind, on page 30, describes as an era of ‘turboparalysis’ — all motion, no progress. But outside government, progress has been nothing short of spectacular.

Take global poverty. In 1990, the UN announced Millennium Development Goals, the first of which was to halve the number of people in extreme poverty by 2015. It emerged this year that the target was met in 2008. Yet the achievement did not merit an official announcement, presumably because it was not achieved by any government scheme but by the pace of global capitalism. Buying cheap plastic toys made in China really is helping to make poverty history. And global inequality? This, too, is lower now than any point in modern times. Globalisation means the world’s not just getting richer, but fairer too.

The doom-mongers will tell you that we cannot sustain worldwide economic growth without ruining our environment. But while the rich world’s economies grew by 6 per cent over the last seven years, fossil fuel consumption in those countries fell by 4 per cent. This remarkable (and, again, unreported) achievement has nothing to do with green taxes or wind farms. It is down to consumer demand for more efficient cars and factories.

And what about the concerns that the oil would run out? Ministers have spent years thinking of improbable new power sources. As it turns out, engineers in America have found new ways of mining fossil fuel. The amazing breakthroughs in ‘fracking’ technology mean that, in spite of the world’s escalating population — from one billion to seven billion over the last two centuries — we live in an age of energy abundance.

Advances in medicine and technology mean that people across the world are living longer. The average life expectancy in Africa reached 55 this year. Ten years ago, it was 50. The number of people dying from Aids has been in decline for the last eight years. Deaths from malaria have fallen by a fifth in half a decade.

Nature can still wreak havoc. The storms which lashed America’s East Coast in October proved that. But the speed of New York City’s recovery shows a no-less-spectacular resilience. Man cannot control the weather, but as countries grow richer, they can better guard against devastation. The average windstorm kills about 2,000 in Bangladesh but fewer than 20 in America. It’s not that America’s storms are mild; but that it has the money to cope. As developing countries become richer, we can expect the death toll from natural disasters to diminish — and the same UN extrapolations that predict such threatening sea-level rises for Bangladesh also say that, in two or three generations’ time, it will be as rich as Britain.

War has historically been humanity’s biggest killer. But in most of the world today, a generation is growing up that knows little of it. The Peace Research Institute in Oslo says there have been fewer war deaths in the last decade than any time in the last century. Whether we are living through an anomalous period of peace, or whether the risk of nuclear apocalypse has proved an effective deterrent, mankind seems no longer to be its own worst enemy. We must bear in mind that things can fall apart, and quickly. Germany was perhaps the most civilised nation in the world in the 1920s. For now, though, it is worth remembering that, in relative terms, we have peace in our time.

Christmas in Britain will not be without its challenges: costs are rising (although many children will give quiet thanks for the 70 per cent increase in the price of Brussels sprouts). The country may be midway through a lost decade economically, but our cultural and social capital has seldom been higher — it is hard to think of a time when national morale was as strong as it was during the Jubilee and the Olympics. And even in recession, we too benefit from medical advances. Death rates for both lung and breast cancers have fallen by more than a third over the last 40 years. Our cold winters still kill people, but the number dying each year halved over the past half-century. The winter death toll now stands at 24,000 — still unacceptable in a first-world country, but an improvement nonetheless. Britain’s national life expectancy, 78 a decade ago, will hit 81 next year.

Fifty years ago, the world was breathing a sigh of relief after the Cuban missile crisis. Young couples would discuss whether it was responsible to have children when the future seemed so dark. But now, as we celebrate the arrival of Light into the world, it’s worth remembering that, in spite of all our problems, the forces of peace, progress and prosperity are prevailing.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: 2012review; trends

1 posted on 12/17/2012 10:14:18 AM PST by grundle
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To: grundle
How do we know we are living in a 'golden age'?

Guess we have to take the writer's word for it.

2 posted on 12/17/2012 10:17:25 AM PST by skeeter
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To: grundle

http://www.moviesoundclips.net/download.php?id=697&ft=wav


3 posted on 12/17/2012 10:17:39 AM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: grundle

I see no named soul had the guts to assign his/her name to this fantasy at Spectator.co.uk.


4 posted on 12/17/2012 10:17:39 AM PST by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will, they ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: grundle

Dr. Pangloss got lucky at the pub this weekend.


5 posted on 12/17/2012 10:19:49 AM PST by Psalm 144 (Capitol to the districts: "May the odds be ever in your favor.")
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To: grundle
Why 2012 was the best year ever

Because we're one year closer to Jesus' return. What a day that will be.

6 posted on 12/17/2012 10:20:07 AM PST by PapaNew
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To: grundle

“The country may be midway through a lost decade economically, but our cultural and social capital has seldom been higher...”

Wow, talk about handwaving!


7 posted on 12/17/2012 10:22:03 AM PST by Shadow44
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To: Shadow44

Lost many family members in 2012. Not sorry to see it go.


8 posted on 12/17/2012 10:28:29 AM PST by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: BenLurkin

Aliens...nice.


9 posted on 12/17/2012 10:30:15 AM PST by EEGator
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To: skeeter

So why soes the unrest continue?

“Peace on earth, goodwill toward men” seems to be a highly unlikely ideal to attain. Christmas or not.


10 posted on 12/17/2012 10:31:34 AM PST by alloysteel (Bronco Bama - the cowboy who whooped up and widened the stampede.)
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To: grundle

“War has historically been humanity’s biggest killer.”

I doubt the veracity of this statement.


11 posted on 12/17/2012 10:32:00 AM PST by EEGator
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To: grundle

Who blew sunshine up this guys a$$?

This is anagolous to my neighbors suggesting my house is cleaner becaue the trashman came and took my garbage away.


12 posted on 12/17/2012 10:33:15 AM PST by Tenacious 1 (The Click-&-Paste Media exists & works in Utopia, riding unicorns & sniffing pixy dust.)
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To: grundle

Yep...and Obammy is the best prez ever./s


13 posted on 12/17/2012 10:33:53 AM PST by Dallas59 (America died a little bit more on 11/6/2012)
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To: EEGator

Out of control government killed over 100 million in the last century so I’d doubt that as well.


14 posted on 12/17/2012 10:46:27 AM PST by ChinaGotTheGoodsOnClinton (Go Egypt on 0bama)
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To: grundle

Personal wealth is down, wages are down, fulltime work is down, partime work is up, taxes are going up, etc. But other than that...


15 posted on 12/17/2012 11:05:33 AM PST by Huskrrrr
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To: grundle

A Golden Age 2012?

Not so much here in this household. Beloved wife left in April, job left in June, church closing in January, with no job, possibility of losing house later in the Spring...

The good news is that there is water and food on the table, heat and power. Jehovah Jira. More good news is that I am able to assist the Salvation Army on Christmas Day, serving meals to the homeless. The very best news is that The Lord is in charge and that every day, we are closer to the return of Jesus.

Merry Christmas to all!


16 posted on 12/17/2012 11:18:46 AM PST by A Formerly Proud Canadian (I once was lost but now I'm found; blind but now I see.)
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To: grundle
As it turns out, engineers in America have found new ways of mining fossil fuel. The amazing breakthroughs .....

Nice to have a positive article.

Even nicer to call out the profession and nationality of many Freepers.

17 posted on 12/17/2012 11:23:30 AM PST by cicero2k
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To: grundle

Probably true from the perspective of a number of third-world hellholes, where things could scarcely have gotten worse.

If someone showed up to dig them a clean well and give them polio shots, it turned out to be a good year.


18 posted on 12/17/2012 12:10:18 PM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: grundle

Disagree with this headline. One of the worst years of my life.


19 posted on 12/17/2012 1:20:19 PM PST by Buckeye Battle Cry (Audentis Fortuna Iuvat)
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To: rockinqsranch

I also noticed that the author’s name was not there. Perhaps it was the ghost of Julian Simon?


20 posted on 12/17/2012 3:00:08 PM PST by grundle
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