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Why 2015 might well be mankind’s happiest new year

26 December 2014

1:29 PM

26 December 2014

1:29 PM

Journalism usually focuses on what’s going wrong, not what’s going right. As a result, newspapers can give an unduly negative view of the world. I try to remedy this in my Daily Telegraph column today by pointing out that 2014 has been the best year ever – just as 2013 was, and just as 2015 will be. It is something that is, now, true every year but the point cannot be made enough. We’re living through a period of amazing progress – in medicine, prosperity, health and even conquering violence.

One of the most significant studies I’ve seen in this is in the current edition of The Lancet showing how the world has been since the end of the Cold War. The above graph, taken from the Lancet article, shows the waning of disease. The below chart, from a WSJ article by the Canadian academic Steven Pinker, shows the waning of war. And some more graphs below it.

God knows that there are enough people with enough problems – and people for whom 2014 has been a tough year, with more misery in store. But in the round, for the average human, this is the best year to be alive. There has never been more reason for people world over to expect, as well wish each other, a happy and prosperous new year.

Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 08.58.08


The waning of hunger…

Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 09.51.34

The waning of infant mortality…

Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 09.55.54

And the waning of excess British winter deaths…

Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 09.04.00



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