The Case for Optimism

I’m fundamentally an optimist about what we’re going to see unfold in the world over the remaining decades of my life. As Brad DeLong explains:

If all goes well in China and India in the next generation — and if nothing goes catastrophically wrong in the rich post-industrial North Atlantic core of the global economy — then the next generation will see a real milestone. For the first time ever more than half of the world will have enough food not to be hungry and worry about famine, enough shelter not to be wet and worried about trenchfoot, enough clothing not to be cold and worried about hypothermia, and enough medical care not to be worried that they and the majority of their children will die of microparisites well short of their biblical three-score-and-ten years. The big problems of the bulk of humanity will then be those of finding enough conceptual puzzles and diversions in their work and play lives so as not to be bored, enough relative status not to be green with envy of their fellows — and, of course, avoiding and quickly disposing of the thugs who used to have spears and will have cruise missiles and H-bombs who have functioned as macroparasites infecting humanity ever since the first farmers realized that now that they had crops running away into the forest was no longer an option.


What’s more, if — as seems perfectly plausible — by 2040 per capita income in China and India manages to quadruple that should open up enormous opportunities for people living in other, poorer countries. They’ll get their chance to be the low-wage exporters of the world, except looking at a much larger market of potential importers.