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Thread: This Has Been the Best Year Ever

  1. #1
    radical strawberry
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    This Has Been the Best Year Ever

    This Has Been the Best Year Ever
    For humanity over all, life just keeps getting better.

    By Nicholas Kristof
    Opinion Columnist
    Dec. 28, 2019

    If you’re depressed by the state of the world, let me toss out an idea: In the long arc of human history, 2019 has been the best year ever.

    The bad things that you fret about are true. But it’s also true that since modern humans emerged about 200,000 years ago, 2019 was probably the year in which children were least likely to die, adults were least likely to be illiterate and people were least likely to suffer excruciating and disfiguring diseases.

    Nick does a column like this regularly at the end of the year. He also does a lot of writing on human trafficking and global injustices from Darfur to Xinjiang. It's probably therapeutic.

  2. #2
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Behind a paywall.

    People, if you are going to link to a paywalled article, at least post enough of it to have an actual discussion.

  3. #3
    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    For further consideration:
    Source: Rich Galen

    Mullings
    An American Cyber-Column
    Fifty Years Ago
    Rich Galen
    Monday, December 30, 2019
    • Given the publication calendar for MULLINGS, this will be the final edition of the second decade of the third millennium of the Western calendar, first introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582.
    • Every producer, editor, reporter and blogger has begun lining up their “End-of-the-Year” and/or “End-of-the-Decade” stories.
    • Because of my contrarian nature, I began thinking about what has changed, not in the past 20 years, but in the past 50 years – 1970.
    • Here’s a partial list. The first number is the 1970 number. The number in parentheses is the 2020 (in most cases, the estimated) number, follow:
    World population: 4.4 billion (6.1 billion) +38.64%
    U.S. population: 205 million (333.5 million) +62.68%
    U.S. GDP: $1,076 trillion ($20.49 trillion) +1,763.64%
    Median Family Income: $9,870 ($61,937) +527.58%
    Median Family income - Minorities: $6,520 ($41,511) +536.67%
    Poverty Level 3-person household: $3,099 ($25,750) +730.91%
    Federal Minimum Wage: $1.60 ($11.00) +587.5%
    McDonald’s Big Mac: $0.65 ($3.79) + 483.08%
    Dow Jones Opening: 809.20 (28,645.26) + 3,440.79%
    U.S. Privately Owned Cars: 88.8 million (263 million) +195.51%
    Ford Mustang Convertible: $3,126 ($32,170) + 929.11%
    Marietta College Tuition: $2,950 ($26,040) +782.71%
    U.S. Troops Stationed in Vietnam: 334,600 (0)
    Smartphones: 0 (272.6 million)
    Networked emails (1971): 1 (293.6 billion – per day)
    Basic IBM Computer: $4.6 million ($348) -99.99%
    Rich Galen’s Age: 23 (73) +217.39%
    • When people – younger people – talk about how bad the divisions are in American society as we approach 2020, I remind them about those days 50-ish years ago.
    • Two years earlier, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. The Democratic Convention deteriorated into a week-long riot. Sections of major U.S. Cities were set afire. There were machine guns mounted on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
    • In 1970 the Kent State Shootings took place during which four students were killed (and nine injured) by Ohio National Guard troops who had been sent to the school to put down riots.
    SIDEBAR
    I was a member of the Ohio National Guard at the time, but our unit had been to Ohio University and to Ohio State University, so we were off the rotation for Kent State.
    According to Wikipedia, the soldiers were armed with M-1 rifles which fired 30-06 rounds. I thought we had been issued M-14 rifles (which fired 7.62 mm NATO rounds) by then, but I could be wrong. In any event it was not until long after that Guard units were issued rubber bullets for use in crowd control.
    My unit was an anti-aircraft unit which underwent minimal training in civil disobedience situations. The closest we ever came to having to deal with a riot was at Ohio State where students threw rocks at us.
    At someone’s suggestion, we threw rocks back at the students and they … dispersed.
    END SIDEBAR
    • On the political front, Richard Nixon was President. If anything, Nixon generated even harsher reactions than Donald Trump. The biggest difference between Watergate and Ukraine-gate is that the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate.
    • The other biggest difference was that Nixon was caught on tape talking about how to cover up the break. When Nixon, in response to a Congressional subpoena, turned over edited summaries of the tapes, claiming executive privilege to protect the source material.
    • Arguing on behalf of Nixon, his attorney stated:
    “The President wants me to argue that he is as powerful a monarch as Louis XIV, only four years at a time, and is not subject to the processes of any court in the land except the court of impeachment.”
    • The Special Prosecutor appealed directly to the Supreme Court which, in an 8-0 ruling held:
    The president cannot use executive privilege as an excuse to withhold evidence that is "demonstrably relevant in a criminal trial."
    • Stop me if any of this sounds familiar.
    • The point to all this is we survived the 1968 riots, the 1970 prices, and the 1972-74 Nixon investigation.
    • Fifty years from now, someone will look back on 2020 and marvel at the relative calm compared to 2070.
    • Happy New Year!

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  4. #4
    radical strawberry
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    Behind a paywall.
    Non-subscribers are given a number of free reads each month. If you've used yours up for December, January is coming soon.

    People, if you are going to link to a paywalled article, at least post enough of it to have an actual discussion.
    The assumption is always that readers will read:

    2019 was probably the year in which children were least likely to die, adults were least likely to be illiterate and people were least likely to suffer excruciating and disfiguring diseases.

    But for those who prefer pictures:


    That's since 1981, and while based on World Bank data, doesn't acknowledge their paucity. Kristof provides the caveat ...

    You may feel uncomfortable reading this. It can seem tasteless, misleading or counterproductive to hail progress when there is still so much wrong with the world. I get that. In addition, the numbers are subject to debate and the 2019 figures are based on extrapolation. But I worry that deep pessimism about the state of the world is paralyzing rather than empowering; excessive pessimism can leave people feeling not just hopeless but also helpless.

    "Misleading and counterproductive" is linked in the original to an extended discussion about the figures' accuracy and relevance:

    But over the course of the debate, the two sides’ positions appeared, at least to me, to converge substantially. Everyone agrees that since 1981, the incomes of the world’s poorest people have gone up — even Hickel has disavowed his Guardian headline, saying it was forced upon him by editors. Everyone agrees incomes for the poor haven’t gone up enough, and that $1.90 per day is hardly enough for a human being to live a decent life.

    Back to Kristof, along with extreme poverty, he notes both illiteracy and famine have declined substantially, "the last famine recognized by the World Food Program struck just part of one state in South Sudan and lasted for only a few months in 2017." Childhood mortality has done the same. And with that decline has come a marked decrease in the excessive birth rates necessary to insure progeny. With that decline has come education and empowerment of women.

    When I was born in 1959, a majority of the world’s population had always been illiterate and lived in extreme poverty. By the time I die, illiteracy and extreme poverty may be almost eliminated — and it’s difficult to imagine a greater triumph for humanity on our watch.

    I was born in 1959, too.

  5. #5
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juvenal View Post
    Non-subscribers are given a number of free reads each month. If you've used yours up for December, January is coming soon.



    The assumption is always that readers will read:

    2019 was probably the year in which children were least likely to die, adults were least likely to be illiterate and people were least likely to suffer excruciating and disfiguring diseases.

    But for those who prefer pictures:


    That's since 1981, and while based on World Bank data, doesn't acknowledge their paucity. Kristof provides the caveat ...

    You may feel uncomfortable reading this. It can seem tasteless, misleading or counterproductive to hail progress when there is still so much wrong with the world. I get that. In addition, the numbers are subject to debate and the 2019 figures are based on extrapolation. But I worry that deep pessimism about the state of the world is paralyzing rather than empowering; excessive pessimism can leave people feeling not just hopeless but also helpless.

    "Misleading and counterproductive" is linked in the original to an extended discussion about the figures' accuracy and relevance:

    But over the course of the debate, the two sides’ positions appeared, at least to me, to converge substantially. Everyone agrees that since 1981, the incomes of the world’s poorest people have gone up — even Hickel has disavowed his Guardian headline, saying it was forced upon him by editors. Everyone agrees incomes for the poor haven’t gone up enough, and that $1.90 per day is hardly enough for a human being to live a decent life.

    Back to Kristof, along with extreme poverty, he notes both illiteracy and famine have declined substantially, "the last famine recognized by the World Food Program struck just part of one state in South Sudan and lasted for only a few months in 2017." Childhood mortality has done the same. And with that decline has come a marked decrease in the excessive birth rates necessary to insure progeny. With that decline has come education and empowerment of women.

    When I was born in 1959, a majority of the world’s population had always been illiterate and lived in extreme poverty. By the time I die, illiteracy and extreme poverty may be almost eliminated — and it’s difficult to imagine a greater triumph for humanity on our watch.

    I was born in 1959, too.
    Thanks!

    So that means we can all say, "YAY Trump!!!"

  6. #6
    tWebber NorrinRadd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    Thanks!

    So that means we can all say, "YAY Trump!!!"
    According to this Spectator article, we have to thank both Trump and Obama, since the whole decade has been great.
    Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

    Beige Nationalist.

    "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

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