Matt Ridley wrote an article titled Why Is It so Cool to Be Gloomy?

« Has the percentage of the world population that lives in extreme poverty almost doubled, almost halved or stayed the same over the past 20 years? When the Swedish statistician and public health expert Hans Rosling began asking people that question in 2013, he was astounded by their responses. Only 5% of 1,005 Americans got the right answer: Extreme poverty has been cut almost in half. A chimpanzee would do much better, he pointed out mischievously, by picking an answer at random. So people are worse than ignorant: They believe they know many dire things about the world that are, in fact, untrue. »

« Before his untimely death last year, Rosling (with his son and daughter-in-law as co-authors) published a magnificent book arguing against such reflexive pessimism. Its title says it all: Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think. As the author of a book called The Rational Optimist, I’m happy to include myself in their platoon… »

« Studies consistently find that people in developed societies tend to be pessimistic about their country and the world but optimistic about their own lives… The psychologist Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania suggests a reason for this: We think we are in control of our own fortunes but not those of the wider society. »

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