And Now, Some Bad News

I’m a glass half full person. I’m thankful for this because I don’t think it’s a decision that people consciously make. Nobody wakes up in the morning with the intent to focus on everything that can go wrong that day.

Because I’m an optimist, I tend to take good news at face value, like for example, the decline in the number of people living in poverty. While there has been progress, the numbers are still beyond horrible.

I was made aware of this while reading Zachary D. Carter’s excellent book, The Price of Peace. He wrote:

By 2012…the World Bank declared that it had met its goal of reducing “extreme poverty” in the world’s poorest countries by one-half over the previous dozen years. The number of people living on less than $1.90 a day- the bank’s updated benchmark for extreme poverty- fell from about 1.8 billion in 1990 to around 800 million today. But adjust the metrics just slightly, and progress seems much less impressive. Much of the globalization’s purported success has simply involved moving people out of extreme poverty and into garden-variety poverty: 1.8 billion people still live on less than $2.50 a day.

Moving hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty is great, until you consider that billions are still living in poverty.

I re-learned a valuable lesson from this one. Facts can mislead and truths can lie. The data shows that things are getting better, and it also shows that things are still pretty terrible.