A New Beginning

One of the most frequent criticisms I receive weekly is that I do not pay enough attention to politicians.  Many of us love seeing a writer give a politician or better yet, a political party, a good ‘beat down’.  I have said many times in the past and I will continue to say that politicians were not, are not and will never be; the source of any problem.  A population gets the government it deserves and if there is need for any focus, the focus should be on the ill-informed electorate who install into positions of trust, individuals who fail to live up to unrealistic expectations time and time again.  All too often we seem to forget that the great advances of mankind do not come from governments but from ordinary men and women.

My fellow fans of the HBO series ‘The Newsroom’ are probably saying in their minds that a similar comparison can be levied upon a media that competes to satisfy the needs of a Jersey Shore hungry audience rather than inform.  Left to the mainstream media and to the many attention-seeking politicians, we would easily fall into the trap of believing that the world today is just getting worse and worse.  As we count down to the end of 2012 and look forward to the beginning of 2013, I find it helpful to remember that the evidence tends to suggest the exact opposite and that the world is actually getting better and better.  Never has there been less hunger, less disease or more prosperity than we enjoy today USA Tax Singapore

About 4 years ago, I wrote about the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals which were first announced in 1990.  The first of these goals was to halve the number of people in extreme poverty by 2015.  It emerged earlier this year that we as a planet actually hit this goal in 2008.  Unfortunately the mainstream media did not see this as the headline story that it truly is.  On the UN website there are success stories such as –
  • By eliminating fees, Kenya was able to quickly get 2 million more pupils into its primary schools.
  • In Ethiopia, the net enrolment rate for primary school was 72.3% in 2007, an increase of 88% on 2000 enrolment rates.
  • In Tanzania, the abolition of school fees in 2001 led to a net enrolment rate of 98% for primary schooling in 2006.  This represents an increase of 97% (i.e. almost double) compared to 1999 enrolment rates.
  • In Bolivia, bilingual education has been introduced for three of the most widely used indigenous languages, covering 11% of all primary schools in 2002 and helping expand access to education among indigenous children in remote areas.
  • Mongolia has been providing innovative mobile schools (“tent schools”) to cater to children in the countryside who may otherwise not have regular access to educational services. One hundred mobile schools have been spread out over 21 provinces.

Economically, the developed economies are rubbish but the developing world is pushing forward.  The result is that people are being lifted out of poverty at a previously unknown rate.  The average life expectancy in Africa reached 55 this year; which is up from 10 years ago when it was 50.  The number of people dying from AIDS has been in decline for the past 8 years. 

The Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO) uses real data to show that war-deaths have actually been falling.  As reported on their website, the number of ongoing conflicts has been in decline since the end of the Cold War and the severity of armed conflict has generally declined since World War II.  Despite the mainstream media hyping up conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Darfur, research conducted by the Centre for the Study of Civil War at PRIO, in collaboration with the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) at Uppsala University, indicates that the number of active conflicts has declined and levelled out at 32 for three years in a row.  We are actually in the longest period since World War II without interstate war.  This is the first time in the post-war period in which two years have passed with no new conflicts having broken out.

The editor of a weekly British magazine that I enjoy even goes as far as to say that we may have entered some sort of golden age.  I would be shy about going that far!  But at the same time, let us not be afraid to lift our heads up and feel good about being alive at this moment.  Then we can put our heads down and continue to push even harder to make this world an even better place.

Despite our current challenges, I continue to have the audacity of hope that we will all enjoy a brighter tomorrow.  Read more on derrenjoseph.blogspot.com 


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