Do you think the world is getting better? .... or worse?

Swedish academic Hans Rosling has identified a worrying trend: not only do many people across advanced economies have no idea that the world is becoming a much better place, but they actually even think the opposite. This is no wonder, when the news focuses on reporting catastrophes, terrorist attacks, wars and famines.

While it is true that globalisation has put some downward pressure on middle-class wages in advanced economies in recent decades, it has also helped lift hundreds of millions of people above the global poverty line – a development that has mostly occurred in South-East Asia. However, stories of people in low-income countries simply doesn't make for exciting news coverage.

But, as Rosling pointed out in his book Factfulness, it's important to put all the bad news in perspective. Why? Because when we worry, or think a problem is too big to solve, we spend energy on the wrong things, and take away from the opportunity to share more joy, and justice.

Here are some ways you can do that:


Read the full NZ herald article (where this opening intro was taken from), and look at seven charts that show the world is actually becoming a better place.


Watch a 20min TED talk from Hans Rosling on why you are probably wrong about what you think you know, and how to quickly become less ignorant.


Read snippets of the book Factfulness on the Gapminder website.

“Factfulness offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. It reveals the ten instincts that distort our perspective―from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse).“


Watch this 2min video from the BBC that shows why changing how you see things is important.