#misery #poverty #optimism
If you believe that the world is a mess, with billions of people locked in inescapable cycles of war, famine and poverty, with more children than ever dying from hunger, disease and violence, to borrow from New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, think again.
Kristof writes that the number of people living in extreme poverty, defined as $1.90 per person per day, has fallen by 50 percent in two decades. The number of small children dying has fallen by about the same proportion, Kristof writes. His column on this subject was published Sept. 29, 2016, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Meanwhile, back in America, poverty is a thing of the past for 3.5 million Americans, writes Patricia Cohen, also of the New York Times. Her article was published a few days earlier in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Cohen uses the example of Alex Caicedo, who went from working a series of odd jobs and watching his 1984 Chevy Nova cough its last breaths, to becoming an assistant manager at a pizzeria in Gaithersburg, Md., with an annual salary of $40,000.
His salary may not look like much, but it enabled Caicedo to move his wife and children out of his mother-in-law’s house and into their own place, Cohen writes.
What we see on the news makes us think that the whole world is in misery. But, as Kristof points out, the media may not be seeing all the good that is happening.
Certainly, there are places in the world where misery is in large supply. But these figures indicate that on a global scale, things seem to be getting better.
“It all came together at the same time,” Cohen quotes Diane Swonk, an independent business economist in Chicago. “Lots of employment and wage gains, particularly in the lowest-paying end of the jobs spectrum, combined with minimum-wage increases that started to hit some very large population areas,” Cohen quotes Swonk.
Overall, 2.9 million more jobs were created from 2014 to 2015, helping millions cross over into the ranks of regular wage earners, Cohen writes.
Meanwhile, on a global scale, as recently as 1981, 44 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty, Kristof writes. Now, that share is believed to be 10 percent, and falling. “This is the best story in the world today,” Kristof quotes Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank.
Still, you might not believe that the world isn’t going to Hades in a hand basket.
And, you might not believe these numbers, because you are not seeing that kind of progress in your life.
Perhaps you think you should just cocoon yourself and get away from it all.
Well, perhaps you should look at what is good in your life, change what you need to change and start seeing the progress others perhaps less fortunate than you are seeing. If you are looking for a vehicle to help you with that change, message me.
Otherwise, these facts would indicate that the country and the world have seen a breakthrough. We all should be optimistic that things will continue to get better, not worse. We all should believe that we can make our own difference in not only our lives, but in the lives of others.
You’ll be much happier if you lose the attitude of misery, and carry on with an attitude of progress and optimism.



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