Excerpt From Hans Rosling’s Posthumously Published Book Discusses How To Put News On Global Development Into Perspective
The Guardian: Good news at last: the world isn’t as horrific as you think
Hans Rosling, physician, academic, and statistician, who passed away in 2017
“Things are bad, and it feels like they are getting worse, right? War, violence, natural disasters, corruption. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer; and we will soon run out of resources unless something drastic is done. That’s the picture most people in the West see in the media and carry around in their heads. I call it the overdramatic worldview. It’s stressful and misleading. … Stories about gradual improvements rarely make the front page even when they occur on a dramatic scale and affect millions of people. … When people wrongly believe that nothing is improving, they may lose confidence in measures that actually work. … How can we help our brains to realize that things are getting better? Think of the world as a very sick premature baby in an incubator. After a week, she is improving, but she has to stay in the incubator because her health is still critical. Does it make sense to say that the infant’s situation is improving? Yes. Does it make sense to say it is bad? Yes, absolutely. Does saying ‘things are improving’ imply that everything is fine, and we should all not worry? Not at all: it’s both bad and better. That is how we must think about the current state of the world…” (4/11).